When two brothers inherit their father’s video store after his disappearance, they assume the process of boxing things up will be their way of saying goodbye. But as fate would have it, the discovery of a VHS board game opens a doorway to another dimension that could very well lead to the recovery of their missing father. The events that ensue are chaotic, nostalgic, bloody, and sweet–so I’ll just cut to the chase: Beyond the Gates is made up of everything that horror fans adore, and you’d be a fool to miss it.
Co-Writer/Director Jackson Stewart impresses in his feature film debut by delivering a nostalgic narrative packed full of familiar faces and glorious practical FX. But this isn’t a non-stop gore fest; Beyond the Gates is surprisingly heartfelt. A great deal of the film focuses on the relationship of the siblings and their various acquaintances. This is where some will undoubtedly say that the movie “takes too long” to get moving, but it’s all important, and you get a better film as a result. Those hoping to see some sort of breathing representation of another dimension may have some cause for disappointment, but that unfortunate omission is rectified when it comes to the imagination behind the kills.
Rounding out a beautiful aesthetic is an equally impressive cast. Genre regular, Graham Skipper, turns in a career best while Brea Grant and Chase Williamson add the requisite balance needed. Even Matt Mercer and Barbara Crampton shine in their, albeit smaller, roles, and music composer, Wojciech Golczewski turns in a majestic and fitting composition. Everyone involved delivers when it counts, and that’s something to be proud of.
So who is this one for? That’s simple: people that love the more adventurous side of horror. Folks have called Beyond the Gates the “Jumanji of Horror”, and maybe that’s the best way to put it. All I know is that it is exactly what I wanted it to be, and that doesn’t happen often. I can’t wait to see where Stewart and team go next.
Beyond the Gates screened at the 2016 Knoxville Horror Film Festival.
Beyond the Gates [KHFF Review]