Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Terrorism and Docudrama: Right At Your Door


School of Communications


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Right At Your Door (2006), the debut feature of writer/director Chris Gorak, plays on current fears about terrorist attacks on American cities that involve nuclear weapons or radiological materials. Dirty bombs are detonated in several locations around L.A., disrupting the mundane morning routines of an ordinary American couple on a typical workday. After a futile effort to drive into the city to rescue his wife, a man returns to his home and follows official instructions to seal his house from the toxic ash falling like snow on his pleasant, prosperous neighborhood. He ultimately has to decide whether to allow his contaminated wife into the house. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and was picked up for release by Lionsgate, but not widely distributed. The critical response to the film, while mostly positive, is illuminating: Right At Your Door is too "realistic" to be entertaining. This representation of terrorism involving dirty bombs, which experts consider the mostly likely scenario for nuclear terrorism, is particularly terrifying because it occurs in the domestic sphere, The attack is not experienced from within the high tech headquarters of counter-terrorism experts, but through the confusing fog of misinformation and haphazard Homeland Security efforts that would be the experience of average citizens if such an attack actually occurs. This paper will examine the way Right At Your Door mobilizes the conventions of the docudrama to enact its discourse on the uneasy intersection between homeland security, personal morality and civic responsibility.

Conference Name

University Film and Video Association

Conference Location

Burlington Vermont

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