Directed by Tibor Takács [Other horror films: I, Madman (1989), The Gate II: Trespassers (1990), Rats (2003), Mansquito (2005), Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006), Ice Spiders (2007), Mega Snake (2007), Spiders 3D (2013), Bunks (2013)]
Having seen The Gate once before, I can say that it’s a perfectly pleasant viewing experience. I don’t think it’s a great movie, but it does have that fun 80’s sensibility, and if you want a good time, giving The Gate a chance would be a fine idea.
Plot-wise, it’s not necessarily impressive, but I do think it did well, especially focusing on kid as the main character. What stands out more would be the quality special effects, which included some nifty stop-motion animation which looked pretty good. It may have gotten a little much come the finale, but the special effects overall were on the better side of the genre.
Though a kid, Stephen Dorff (who later stars in the neo-classic Feardotcom) does well, and perhaps stands out with the marginally-more emotional material, and his relationship with his sister (Christa Denton) is perhaps one of the more interesting elements of the movie. Denton herself does quite a decent job as a concerned older sister, and though past a certain point his character doesn’t matter, Louis Tripp did well as a friend of Dorff’s character.
Being a movie aimed toward a younger audience, The Gate isn’t really a violent movie whatsoever, and really, much like Gremlins (which is actually a movie I’d consider more tense), this could be a good onboarding film to get kids into horror. Plus, as I said, it has that 80’s charm, and what kids don’t enjoy that?
Though The Gate isn’t a favorite of mine, I do find the film rather fun at times. It’s not a go-to for me insofar as 80’s horror is concerned, but it was well-made, and never feels too campy or silly, which, based on some of the effects, people might be surprised by. It’s a movie worth seeing at least once, and could well make it’s way into your collection. I don’t love it, but it does what it has to, and if you’re a child of the 1980’s, you may already be charmed by this one.
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