The film is a great homage to the Italian horror films of the ‘80s influenced by House By the Cemetery, The Beyond, and The Gate with a touch of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm thrown into the mix.
When two estranged brothers, Gordon and John (Skipper and Williamson), polar opposites in attitude and style get together to liquidate their missing father’s inventory from his video store they discover a VHS interactive board game entitled Beyond the Gates hosted by the beautiful but ominous Barbara Crampton (who also was one of the producers on this film) that may give them clues to their father’s disappearance.
One night, Gordon’s girlfriend, Margot (Grant) decides that he three of them should play the game for fun, but by doing so, it begins to show them clues towards the disappearance of Gordon and John’s father, leading to deadly consequences if they don’t finish it.
Supporting characters Mercer as Gordon’s cop buddy, Derek, Welborn as the obnoxious, low-life pal of John’s and creepy store owner Elric of a shop that deals with the dead and death deliver great supporting roles in the film. Crampton does an outstanding job as the dark hostess capturing the feel of the video board games of the ‘80s.
There are innovative splatter FX created by John and Sierra Russell as well as an excellent Goblin-esque title theme by composer Wojciech Golczewski.
Brian Sowell’s cinematography gives the film a great aura and Stewart’s directing peels back layer after layer of the plot to excellent effect.
Horror fans will enjoy this fresh addition to the genre.
BEYOND THE GATES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JACKSON STEWART / SCREENPLAY: JACKSON STEWART, STEPHEN SCARLATA / STARRING: BARBARA CRAMPTON, GRAHAM SKIPPER, CHASE WILLIAMSON, BREA GRANT, MATT MERCER, JUSTIN WELBORN, JESS MERLIN / RELEASE DATE: TBC