The Gatehouse (2016) Poster


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Perfect Bits in a Flawed Film.
zandertowne4 July 2019
This is an odd one to review, because I feel like it should be recommended, despite the fact that it's not really more than 60% successful. It is unquestionably flawed throughout and yet worth watching and enjoyable regardless. I felt such a strong respect for not only the bits writer/director Martin Gooch got right, but for what he was attempting during the bits where he failed.

The very young actress Scarlett Rayner is the one element that is perfect from start to finish. And there are some particularly good supporting characters. But a fairy-tale tone in a realistically grounded film is a serious challenge to even attempt, let alone pull off as successively as is accomplished here. Plot holes, underdeveloped character motivations and unjustified behaviors, and, of course, an excessive over reliance on "bad dreams" to add some horror/scary scenes that otherwise serve no purpose except to provide good trailer moments are all here as well. I noticed them. I'm not denying them. And yet... even simply cranking out this review tempts me to watch the film again.
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psykoactive fairytale
ops-5253526 January 2019
This is a british flick that twists and boogies around many genres, its surtainly mystery,a little bit of comedy and adventure and most of all spooky and a hint of sheer horror. its said to be a family film, but i would have hesitated showing this to children under 6.

its a widower and his 10 yrs old daughter who struggles to make a life out of nothing.,something goes really bad,and the surroundings becomes ominous and spooky. its a nightmare inside a nightmare of a nightmare that rides them both.

the highlight in this film is the girl at 10 portrayed by scarlett rayner, who has her rucksack full of talent,and a lot of the action gravitates around her.very of the cast are merely just there with hints of old greatness,and also some stiff and uncomfortable newbies.

the technical product varies a lot, there are a few scenes that has been spiced up with some visuall effects, but they are really primitive. there are some nature shots that are smashing, rest is on average. the soundwork could at times have been better,but the sound effects plus a very well timed music gives you a thrill for sure. the story or fairytail are not of the memorable kind,and maybe a bit difficult to understand.

by all means do view if you want to, there are a few surprises,but not enough for me to make a review. 4 is the most i can give......
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Just focus on the main through line and you'll be okay.
S_Soma25 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Just to get it out of the way: yes, I liked THE GATEHOUSE and I do recommend it for horror fans. There are, however, some unusual characteristics to it that bear mentioning.

It's a little hard to describe, but for the lack of a better term, many of the plot elements are a bit confused or tangled, and some of of the story themes seem quite incongruous, so oddly juxtaposed together as they are.

If you break THE GATEHOUSE down to the bare scaffolding of its plot, the story seems straightforward enough. A single father, Jack, is doing his best to raise his precocious ten-year-old daughter, uniquely named "Eternity". The girl is upbeat and strong-willed but a little odd. For "fun", she likes to dig for treasure with her silly little-girl-sized green bladed spade.

But something dark and sinister is going on in the forest Eternity frequents. People have disappeared, and a dark and horned, and quite menacing, creature seems to be haunting the forest. (Note: for anyone who cares about such details, the horned creature is an unmistakable reference to the Celtic horned god Cernunnos; I was sure you would want to know).

As it turns out, the horned forest God is merely trying to protect what's left of the forest which is under dire threat from a greedy and unscrupulous farmer that's been chopping down large swathes of it. The farmer has been able to do so because he has figured out the system of magic stones that protect the forest and has removed them, effectively disabling the forest's protection system. Jack and Eternity, with a little help from their friends, defeat the evil farmer and return the magic stones to the forest and the forest God, and everybody lives happily ever after.

But within this straightforward plot structure there are a lot of plot elements that feel a little jarring because they don't really seem to fit together in a single story.

Jack, the father and a writer by trade, is under quite a bit of pressure because he's quite low on money and is worried about finances. Still, keeping a stiff upper lip (as this is in Britain), Jack and Eternity are very cheerful and sprinkled throughout THE GATEHOUSE are lots of precocious-and-witty-daughter-bouncing-off-of-slightly-slow-and-bemused-single-father comedic moments. These lend the movie a sort of comedy/mystery air which tends to collide, in my opinion, with the fact that THE GATEHOUSE is actually quite gruesome, and at least half the main characters get blasted with a shotgun (with blood flying everywhere). And there's another scene where Eternity calmly stands before the evil farmer who has been stabbed and currently has an ax sticking out of his back and is holding an empty weapon whilst sitting down and leaning against a tree for support, and says "I hope it hurts" while matter-of-factly and deliberately blowing the farmer's brains out with a flintlock pistol, complete with GIANT 4 foot diameter out-of-the-back-of-the-head spatter of blood and brains. Charming. Not that the farmer didn't have it coming, but still. That's pretty raw. I don't know if murder gets any more blatant than that.

And how about Jack? He's a single father BECAUSE he and his erstwhile wife went paddling about in a boat on a large body of water all the while chugging booze until the both of them were falling down drunk. Clumsily jumping to grab the bottle he has accidentally dropped in the water, Jack accidentally whacks his wife in the head with an oar, knocking her in the water. Jack himself is banged on the head hard enough against the boat to knock him out, and by the time he comes to, there's his dead wife floating in the water who has died calling to him for help. I would've thought that any investigation would've suggested he murdered her with evidence like that. What a charming, responsible fellow Jack is. JUST the type of guy you want raising a ten-year-old girl single-handedly. While still drinking.

And how about that sympathetic forest God? Other user reviews around here have remarked appreciatively about the "positive" depiction of Cernunnos. Did I see the same movie? During the course of the picture, Cernunnos destroys two completely innocent women because they can't produce any of the magic stones he's looking for, especially given the fact that they have no idea what he's talking about and are terrified out of their minds. He turns one poor woman into a 1/2 tree 1/2 woman thing which clearly exists in a state of continuous suffering. And I guess the other woman is a bit more lucky because he just squeezes the life out of her and then quick-rots her almost immediately into little more than bones. Oh yes, he's a real sweetheart.

The entire dénouement of the movie seems to have the characters motivated with confused objectives. All the primary characters set out to "get" Cernunnos, including the evil farmer, but within minutes are trying to save Cernunnos and protect him from the evil farmer. What? In point of fact, Cernunnos, by the end of the picture, has killed twice as many people as the evil farmer and in MUCH more gruesome and painful, drawn-out ways. What's the message here? It's perfectly okay to horribly murder random, innocent women as long as somewhere in your heart you want to save a forest? Has environment worship gone this far?

And the second to final scene borders on the sublimely ridiculous. With the help of Cernunnos, Eternity attempts to give her dad a fine Viking funeral: the old burning boat sendoff. Suddenly, a woman friend of the family who was part of the original "lynch Cernunnos" group and whose daughter has ALSO been blasted with a shotgun, comes staggering up to the shore of the lake where Jack is currently being boat-toasted, and somehow just KNOWS that Jack isn't REALLY dead and starts screaming for him to wake up. Yup... This would be the same Jack who was shot nearly point blank in the chest with a shotgun a little bit ago. Sure enough... Blinking his eyes a little, Jack wakes up and discovers he's on his way to being a crispy critter. Lady friend wades out in the water and collects him. When he's ALREADY awake, we see that Eternity has quietly kept one of the magic stones that were supposedly returned en masse to Cernunnos, and she squeezes it and it starts glowing in her hand. What does that do? Nothing, as far as I can tell. It didn't bring Jack back to life because he was already awake and struggling by the time she pulled it out of her pocket. So what was THAT all about?

I know, I've ripped this movie to pieces, but essentially, if you cover-up one eye and squint the other and just look at the broad strokes, it's not a bad picture. It's just that all the "implementation details" seem to go horribly wrong in an essentially good movie. I think if you're braced for that at the beginning it'll make it a bit more palatable.
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New fairytale
Grimsonia15 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I thought this was going to be a kids flick, but it wasn't. This was kind of like a new fairytale where thankfully, the old gods are not portrayed as evil but trying to save themselves and in turn us.
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A nice, well made, spooky Brit Flick
jackstupidjack30 November 2020
A truly good film, superbly acted, well scripted, delightfully atmospherically shot, some of the locations (The New Forest, or the Weald I think) are beautifully caught, all in all, a gem among some of the dross found on Amazon Prime. It is a little 'clunky' at times, though on the whole, the film is a great success. the spooks are genuine, the film is well-paced, builds along nicely. The acting is staggeringly good, especially the turn from the young lass.
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The movie was decent.
dlmyst-298135 May 2020
The movie overall was pretty decent and I wished they fleshed it out a bit more. The guardian of the forest needed a better costume to be more believable. Heck if it was made with CGI it would of looked scarier. However, this is not a big budget film so we got what we got. The young actress was had a spunky personality and she made the story flow better than the dad in the film. Again, I wished they fleshed out the story a bit more with lore. I would recommend this to anyone that has some free time and wants to be entertained a bit.
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Had so much potential... But
jjackson3rd7 November 2019
This movie had so much potential as an M Night-esque feature. It went astray because the style changed many times throughout. The ambiance and theme was never consistent. The one redeeming factor was the young girl actor, Scarlett Rayner. She was a cute and funny little "Brat". I hope to see her in many more films in the future. I hope a bigger studio picks this up and remakes it into the fantasy/adventure "Dark Tale" it deserves to be.
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I really loved this movie, it was a nice twist from the usual "lets hate on all the Pagan old Gods"
Loveunderlaw15 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Scarlett Rayner put in a solid performance for a young person as character Eternity Winter, she had me laughing in a few scenes:). I also enjoyed the portrayal of The Forest God\Cernunnos by Philip Quinton. Instead of them making Cernunnos\the forests look evil. Instead the point was made (to summarize) that we need to be living in harmony with nature & The Old Ones instead of seeing them as evil\fighting them blindly against our own best interests. Just why everyone left the forest IMO.

We can live without Church, Mosque, or Synagogue, but lets see how long Humanity lasts with no Honeybees:( As they are always saying "there's a mass die off of Honeybees now sadly". I also enjoyed the Algernon Sykes character too(great job Linal Haft), I've known so many like him. People fighting nature to their own detriment, instead of working with it. The Eternity Winter character finished him off in the end though, Algernon Sykes should've known better & not tried to not be so evil. All in all a good watch:)
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