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Beyond the Gates
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Beyond the Gates More at IMDbPro »

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Nice touches in an essentially fanboy horror project

Author: mungflesh from London, England
1 September 2016

It has the vibes of Hellraiser and some of Fulci's "Gates of Hell" trilogy, mixed with some obvious similarities to Jumanji (though purely owing to the subject matter) but with some nice comic touches, which allows the movie to get away with a few of its budgetary constraints.

Our central characters, Gordon, John and Margot, play a retro VHS board game and unlock a gateway to some dark netherworld, in an attempt to discover what happened to Gordon's missing father. Needless to say opening such portals can only lead to trouble!

Fortunately for us, trouble of the gruesome kind.

The film is very much an homage and tribute to many things from a previous generation of entertainment, such as the board game, the VHS rental store and some cool gore effects which nod to the era of the video nasty. This is its strongest element because the story and setting is a tad threadbare, without feeling amateurish.

Fans of the genre and such from-the-heart productions are bound to enjoy what this film has to offer as it nicely passes forward to the viewer whatever infectious sense of fun and creativity that led its creators to make the film in the first place.

It's not going to change the world of horror as we know it but I can bet it will inspire other startup movie-makers to make that movie they have in them.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Just not good

Author: Leethal1 from New Zealand
10 December 2016

I am not angry, I am not disappointed. I am completely numb. That was slow and very tedious, complete with uninteresting and unlikable characters, Slow plot, just a plain boring story. I felt lethargic just watching it. I kept getting pulled away from it and hoping something would happen to bring me back... I usually love horror and adventure and low budget horror too. Apart from a couple of good effects moments, this movie was un-engaging, lacking any emotion or even humor (if they were trying to go the comedic route). It was the movie version of the character Eeyore...slow and sluggish Unimpressed... not recommended if you want something immersive or engaging. Boring, Pointless, Time waster...but that's just my opinion.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

P*ss Poor

Author: Dandy_Desmond from United Kingdom
22 December 2016

There's a trend doing the rounds. It seems the 80s are back.

Not a bad thing in the right hands. For example The Guest was a very good attempt at a modern film with a retro twist. I also enjoyed Stranger Things and It Follows.

Unfortunately you then get the attempts that don't pull it off. Beyond the Gates falls into this category.

You can't stick a synth soundtrack, a story involving a VHS tape and a vaguely retro intro into a film and assume it gives it style. Some retro junkies will eat it up. I didn't.

I would describe it as a slow burner of a horror film. I like to get to know the characters, get into the story and wait for the punch. Unfortunately the characters in Beyond the Gates are boring, nothing really happens for a long time and the characters and story are not interesting enough to keep your attention.

Someone mentioned this was like a Fulci film. The mind boggles. It really isn't, its style reminded me more of Napoleon Dynamite with a dash of gore thrown in here and there to perhaps wake the audience up.

I love Barbara Crampton too, but not blindly enough to recommend this film.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Nostalgic and Entertaining

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
28 December 2016

Gordon (Graham Skipper) returns to his hometown with his girlfriend Margot (Brea Grant) to meet his estranged brother John (Chase Williamson) to close the video store of their missing father and pack the videotapes and the DVDs. John finds the key of the office that is closed and decides to snoop around with Gordon. They find the VCR board game "Beyond the Game" and they decide to play with Margot. Soon they learn that the game must be played until the very end; otherwise they will die.

"Beyond the Gates" is a nostalgic and entertaining movie that follows the style of many films from the 80's and 90's (specially "Jumanji"). The story is flawed and, for example, Derek dies without any further consequences. But fans of the genre will not be disappointed. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

one big mess ... kinda

Author: Sjalka Rjadottir from IS
10 December 2016

To get it out of the way - i rated the movie a 4/10 for being pretty forgettable.

But that does not mean i do not appreciate some things it tried to do. It does however fall with its totally and utterly ridiculous story; a story that is so silly that it most probably is intentional. In short - the story feels like one of those cheap books that tells you to keep on reading on a certain page once you made a decision or like an amateurish table-top-rpg - all along with actors that both underact and overact. (kind of like many roleplayers i feel) Then there are the character archetypes that are so flat and one dimensional... they do not have a sliver of personality about them; and of course a story that lacks any logic.

Once you get that out of the way - you can start to appreciate some neat details though. There is a certain 90s vibe going on, which is dismissed by the rather modern still shots in many scenes. There is some 90s colouring and scenes - and then again more modern ones.

There is what feels like a certain homage to Lynch movies (curio shop owner and camera works in that shop) and some raw, low budget slasher core movies.

The tone of the movie itself is almost somber with extreme gore sprinkled in (that mostly looks deliciously fake) The dialogue consists of meaningless one liners for the most part - and the actors hardly act scene-appropriate.

But the movie actually was kind of funny to watch - utterly forgettable but fun - in all its cheesiness. And sometimes one wants to watch some cheese i guess.

However - i cannot recommend it. Maybe as part of a horror video night with friends (and alcohol...) There are "gems" in the movie that certain people may love and appreciate though. It has a very narrow target audience. (i am not it) But if you are - you may well very much enjoy it.

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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Slow dialogue and build up

Author: quothage from Bucks, England
10 December 2016

Overall a not unwatchable effort, a story line with certain potential is littered with some enjoyable blood-fest elements. Unfortunately Beyond the Gates is marred by slow paced dialogue, between one dimensional characters, who all clunkily perform their way to the end. The issue here is that before anything begins to get going, you're likely to be half out of your mind with boredom. The 88 minute run time, which was reduced to about 80 after the exclusion of the opening and closing credits, still felt drawn out.

When things did get going, Beyond the Gates takes some particularly odd turns to create none too convincing or all that scary "monsters". In retrospect the film could well have borrowed more themes from greats such as Hellraiser and utilized them to bolster its own version of hell (assuming that's what the movie was trying to get at).

This may well appeal to die hard horror fans, but you're likely to be disappointed.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Great premise, disappointing execution.

Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
10 December 2016

Two estranged brothers, Gordon (Graham Skipper) and John (Chase Williamson), reunite to liquidate the assets of their missing father's video store. As they sort out the contents of the shop, the brothers discover a strange old VHS board game—Beyond the Gates—that seems to have some connection with their dad's disappearance. Together with Gordon's girlfriend Margot (Brea Grant), they pop the game's tape into the player and are greeted by a mysterious woman (scream queen Barbara Crampton) who guides them through the horror that ensues.

Take the basic premise of Jumanji and give it a horror twist, and what you have is Beyond the Gates, except that Jumanji was, and still is, a whole lot of fun (despite some horribly dated CGI effects), whereas Beyond the Gates is a crushing bore for most of its running time, with long periods where absolutely nothing of interest occurs (the first 45 minutes are a real test of patience). About the only things the film has in its favour are a few decent gore effects (best being an exploding cranium), a cool synth score, and Grant's impressive rack (the actress wears a tight vest but fails to do a Crampton, keeping those puppies under wraps).

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Was hoping for more

Author: Shades from England
17 January 2017

The film for me was really slow I was hoping for a horror type jumanji type board game and I just found the acting and story really lame. Halfway through I just stopped watching although it was on in the background. It maybe worth a watch for some But prepare for disappointment. The fist part starts out quite promising I love the old VHS stores and tenses me of being a kid myself, the creepy keyboard 80s style music was good and the images on google for the movie have a definite 80s vibe and i think that's what got me excited. With the lady from Heroes in the movie I expected it to be quite good with her being from a top show but found her to be really bland and boring . Could have been a good movie as the idea of a horror board game is one that excites me however the writers didn't do it justice nor did the actors in my opinion .

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a little bit like Jumanji for adults, with magic and murder

Author: runester from United States
16 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Some Spoilers!)

The setting is two brothers cleaning out their family's video (as in VHS) rental store because their father has been missing for seven months and is presumed dead - or just fled without any intention of returning. One brother lives in the town, but isn't doing very well, the other has returned with his girlfriend, and he's the "responsible" one with a college degree and a mortgage. They stumble on a video/board game which was a real thing, back in the day, and determine it was the last thing their father watched. Hoping it gives a clue to where their father went, they watch it and get pulled into the supernatural elements of the story.

The look and feel of the movie is 80's VHS horror. I was a teenager in the 80's and remember combing the shelves at our local video rental store. There were a lot of straight-to-video horror movies that we'd see there and nowhere else. Some were bad and others were just terrible! So, this movie felt a little like one of those ... an oddball, made-for-VHS horror movie. The irony that it included a video rental store in it and a VHS based horror board game, was just laying it on thick. In any case, the movie played out a little bit like Jumanji for adults, with magic and murder.

I thought the setting, music, theme, and acting were all fine. The director and cast knew what they were aiming for and did a fine job. My problem with the movie is that it never felt like there were real stakes. Several characters get killed in bloody, violent ways - but they weren't characters that we really got to know or care about. One was portrayed as a jerk who probably deserved what he got, but even then, there was no feeling of righteous justice because we barely even knew him. (And one line of dialog implies that a completely innocent woman was blamed for his murder!) When the movie finally got around to putting one of the characters we did care about in jeopardy, it then immediately pulled it's punch and that character was really OK, too.

The magic game, "Beyond the Gates!", was supposed to be so fiendish and difficult that no one ever successfully "won" (i.e. made it back with their soul, or something to that effect). Yet, when we see the characters get through it, it didn't look that difficult at all. Where was the feeling of struggle or risk or real danger?

OK, if I were going to fix the story, how would I do it? Make the "players" make moral choices. Eventually, make them choose who they could bring back from beyond the gates, so that the decision would hurt and not deciding would doom them all. This way, there would be actual consequences and a moral penalty.

I noticed that someone was listed in the credits for designing the game, but as someone who's played board, card, and tabletop RPG's for decades, this was less a game and more a parody of one. The rules are never explained, and what they did show was not done consistently; the cards didn't even make sense. For example, the dice are only ever rolled once, and not by the current player. The three little skulls are supposed to be the player's pieces, but in one scene, the gray skull seems to be a stand-in for a zombie that comes out of the gate, instead of the player who declared "I'm gray!" in a previous scene. There were three rune cards which were never flipped over or used in any way. There were four tarot like cards, but they didn't come from a deck, were the only ones of their kind in the box, and seemed to specifically look like characters in the movie. Fine, but turning them over or not made no difference, and the order they were turned over didn't seem to matter, either. Finally, of all of the "locations" on the game board, only two are ever used and there didn't seem to be any obvious way for the pieces to move between them, other than just plunking the piece down where you wanted.

In other words, this was a board game designed by someone who seems to have never seen or played a board game. That doesn't spoil the movie in any way, it was just an annoyance that not only did the "game" not make any sense, but someone was actually listed in the credits for having "designed" it!

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Board Games, VHS Tapes, and Family

Author: Richard Leis from Tucson, AZ, United States
11 December 2016

This is one of those slow-burn horror films that may bore some viewers but the nostalgia and character building are going to make fans of the rest. Barbara Crampton makes a great but frightening VHS guide to another world who is not to be crossed. Graham Skipper and Chase Williamson are great as mumblecore brothers trying to return to childhood camaraderie. Brea Grant is fantastic as one of the brother's girlfriend caught up with the horror unleashed when they play the last VHS tape their dad played in the back office of his video store before he mysteriously disappeared. If you like violet back-lighting, unexpected visitors, and 1980's practical-effect gore, then this movie might be for you!

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