Beyond the Gates is a take on an older generation of horror with the fun of classic VHS to board game experiences. That's right, not only do the brothers meet to clear out their father's VHS story they somehow still have a VHS player. Joking aside the film was actually enjoyable bringing with it some solid levels of gore and fun I'd say. Their father has disappeared mysteriously and now the brothers are clearing out the stock. This is where they come across this odd board game that it looked like their father had started playing so they give it a whirl. It turns out that this is not just your typical VHS board game and they, along with their closest friends begin to play for their souls.
I felt that Beyond the Gates kept somewhat of a classic vibe with great music and just some older elements to it. The gore was great, though most of the "sicker" moments were somewhat funny to watch for some reason. It didn't quite feel as terrifying as it might have meant to be though it was still decent. The environments weren't anything special as it kept things very intimate with setting and visited very few areas. I also felt it was a bit randomly thrown together at times where certain events would just happen and even the pacing felt off. It was as though they did a longer bit of build-up and just ran through the board game instead of truly exploring what the game could do. Performance wise I also felt that the actors were rather stiff and boring for the most part. John (Chase Williamson), the loser brother as you may call him felt the most natural of the core group whereas the VHS tape personality lady (Barbara Crampton) was great and I also found the mysterious store clerk chillingly fun.
Beyond the Gates wasn't the greatest horror film I've seen being somewhat of a basic approach to the genre. That aside I still did enjoy watching it as it was a fun type of horror film with some great gore effects. The story was also interesting, but the essence and terror of the board game itself could have been explored better. It's definitely on the light side of horror though those looking for bits of gore and an easy going scare film will enjoy it.
Review for Beyond the Gates at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening Provided by Jinga Films
Calgary Film Festival 2016 Showings:
Friday September 30, 10:00pm (Globe Downstairs)
Sunday October 2, 4:15pm (Globe Downstairs)
Check out the movie's Calgary Film Festival Page Here