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‘…Gateway successfully updates a classic haunted house scenario to a modern, scuzzy world…’

Regular readers will know that I’m currently got wormholes, portals and multiverses up the wazoo; if last week’s Backwards Faces wasn’t enough, the current fashion for travelling through space and time through domestic doorways has now spread to Ireland. Producer, writer and director Niall Owens is the creative force behind Gateway, and while it’s got a few of the issues that afflict low-budget productions, it’s well worth a review as a promising feature debut.

We’re in the world of the low-life criminal; if you’ve seen recent Irish films like Calm with Horses, you’ll know the vibe, although Gateway blurs the line between the criminal world and the occult in a deliberately disturbing way. Gateway successfully updates a classic haunted house scenario to a modern, scuzzy world; Mike (Tim Creed) is part of a crew of men dispatched to bed in a marijuana farm, hidden inside a deserted house with a firmly locked door. Mike is recovering from the untimely death of his sister Hannah (Fiona Hardy), but as each man on Mike’s team explores the house, strange things begin to happen, turning the men’s violent energy on each other…

Gateway’s treatment of some fairly traditional EC Comics Crypt-keeper morality is done in a subtle, non-hokey way that adds credibility to the narrative; the appearance of various runic symbols (glimpsed on a face tattoo, or carved on a drainpipe) evokes thoughts of the intersection of crime and curses featured in Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, or even his earlier scheme-opus Down Terrace. There’s a brooding, oppressive atmosphere as Gateway leads each man to his doom, much like The Shining’s Room 237. There’s always a grim backstory that needs to be resolved in this kind of narrative; it’s also to Owens’ credit that there’s a firm punch-line here, properly foreshadowed.

Out now on US streaming platforms, Gateway is a tricky sell; the characters may seem a little down at heel for the art-house crowd who might well appreciate the strong production values and the artistically composed, moody shots. But Gateway manages to meld such disparate elements into a coherent film, even if the denouement is a little bit ambiguous and there’s no real explanation for what’s behind these grim killings or how. Uniformly well acted, and with Creed’s thousand-yard glare sticking with you afterwards, this is a well-controlled little indie that promises good things for Owens and his cast moving forwards.


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  1. Well this all looks and sounds very nopulent. Why don’t they just leave the house after the 1st incidence? I mean, duh! And nope, obvs.

  2. hmmm, I think I like those youtube videos you and Alex have been putting up more than this trailor.

    I mean “infinite evil”? Isn’t that a bid melodramatic?

  3. Trailer looks good and I like the idea. Made me think of the gangsters vs. zombies in Horde. Think I might need subtitles from the sound of it though. There’s some thick Irish there.

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