Beyond the Gates review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Beyond the Gates is an excellent exercise in horror-turned-comedy, closely resembling and following along the lines of proven hits such as Hellraiser and Jumanji. In fact, when one comes to better think of it, Beyond the Gates is a mash-up of the two, although not quite like either of those particular movie-going experiences, but rather existing on a plane of its own. And so, looking the film from the aforementioned perspective, one cannot but wonder if Beyond the Gates could’ve been something more than what its budget allowed; or rather we should blame it all on its budgetary constraints instead ($300,000 in total). Whatever’s the case, Beyond the Gates is simply a creatively thought out idea, but one executed mediocre at best.
The film starts of by introducing the protagonists to the audience – each having enough (written) merit onto them to be at least partially interesting at first. And so, we have brothers Gordon (Graham Skipper) and John Hardesty (Chase Williamson), as well as the always curious Margot (Brea Grant) delving into an uncanny territory by unlocking what seems to be ancient evil trapped in an old VHS board game. Needless to say, what awaits on the other side can possibly have negative repercussions on these kids’ wellbeing and health (duh).
Fortunately for the audience and on the perils on everyone else: Beyond the Gates ends up being a nefarious game that sucks everyone into the “abyss” from which there’s hardly a way out. Not all is lost however, since there are certain set of rules that can set our characters free and make up for the stupidity on their part (as it’s the case with the majority of teenage horror flicks, this one not excluded).
Additionally, in regards to its story, Beyond the Gates pays homage to a number of older flicks in similar theme and subject, as well as board games, and other culture artifacts from the past century. Arguably, this is the film’s strongest point, since the narrative is developed in such a way as to not feel as amateurish as it ought to be; that is to say, Beyond the Gates is more than the creators bargained for, but ended up less than what the audience had hoped for.
In regards to the 80s, this film serves as a kind of a nod to that culture, expanding upon that same theme in a variety of different ways, including several references (which I would not mention in wakes of avoiding spoilers);
Finally, this feature by Jackson Stewart (penned by both that guy and Stephen Scarlata) is a perfectly watchable film, nothing more, nothing less; and to this extent, Beyond the Gates can provide some form of entertainment (granted you’re familiar with some elements of the ancient culture of both the eighties and nineties as well).