I didn’t manage to go to Frightfest this year which I was gutted about as the line up looked pretty great and some of the UK premiere’s were awesome. I decided to take a look at what was shown there and try to pick out something good to watch, this one stuck out given it’s claims to be a nod to the 80’s and featuring a board game it sounded good.
Director: Jackson Stewart
Writers: Stephen Scarlata, Jackson Stewart
Stars: Barbara Crampton, Brea Grant, Ryan Kunert
Gordon and John are two brothers who don’t get along after Gordon moved away from small town life and despite being a violent drunk in the past managed to pull Margot. Gordon arrives in town to sort out his Father’s old video store after his disappearance and meets up with his brother John, things are obviously strained between the two but they begin sorting all the VHS’s in the store.
There’s a locked office at the back of the store which Gordon finds the key to whilst staying at the Father’s home. The next day the brothers investigate what’s in the office, they don’t really find too much but then stumble on a game called Beyond The Gates, it’s a VHS board game and the tape is in the player. They watch it but are deafened by it making an awful noise so they turn it off.
When returning home Gordon’s girlfriend Margot arrives in town to help him out, one night after dinner the three of them decide to play the game. This is when things get weird, although impossible the woman on the VHS seems to answer them when they shout at her to explain what’s happening. The game requires them to find some keys and gives clues to their whereabouts.
It’s during these scenes that the film really surprises with some brutally gory death scenes, it’s far from a video nasty as there’s only a handful of these deaths but it’s a clear nod to the 80’s style of exploding heads and gut ripping bloody deaths.
As they find the keys through playing the board game it makes some sort of gate appear in the cellar. All leading to the brothers fighting to save their Father from some sort of limbo that the game has trapped him in and he can’t be released from until someone completes the game a feat that no one has ever accomplished.
- The gory deaths are well done, I did not expect them to be so good.
- The constant 80’s nods.
- The music and even the way the credits are done has an 80’s feel to it.
- There’s a few plot holes, mainly if the Father disappeared for 7 months wouldn’t someone maybe his own sons want to check his locked office to make sure he’s not had a heart attack in there?
- The character development is poor, even Gordon’s past as an alcoholic is all a bit pointless.
- The acting isn’t good, a $3 million budget you’d think would get you some half decent actors. Then again it’s imdb maybe the estimated budget is quite far off target.
- Until the first gruesome death I found it all a bit cringey to watch, after that it picks up a little bit and I wanted to know how it was going to end.
This is clearly made by a bunch of massive 80’s fanboys (aren’t we all?) but it just all misses the mark. Sure the feel of an old movie is there and along with the music you’d be forgiven for thinking this was actually an 80’s movie and not a modern horror. It could have been so much better but with some plot holes and poorly acted and written characters not even the gruesome deaths could save this movie from being very average.
Overall Score – 4.5/10