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.
Any digit-removal in this one?
No, but I’ve has enough severed digits for one week.
Lots of red flag for me in this one – “grim”, “scuzzy” , “deliberately disturbing.” Think I’ll pass and wish this one well from afar.
I guess that is also part of the role of the reviewer. I’d being doing both this and the film a disservice if I described it as delightful, charming and life-affirming.
Yep. I’ve come that some excellent, well-done, and deserving of attention films are just not for me.
Nor me. Probably getting a bit more selective. Have decided that certain types of film are no longer required as part of my diet. Are you posting? Just had a look but no updates…
I’m actually finishing up a post right now. Should be up within the hour. Missed last week but back on the horse!
Will be first in the queue for fresh insights…
Appreciate that 😊
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.
I bow to your superior experience of setting up illegal drug farms in Ireland, not something I knew much about before this.
I’m not sure what the rules are of setting up a grass farm, but I suspect you’re not allowed to pack it in at the first hint of supernatural malarkey…
How do they conceal the extra power usage? Asking for a friend.
Pin in the meter. I’ll show you how, just you get the hydroponics sorted before the boys get round and don’t attract any undue attention…
Depends on the size of the crop really, and how many rooms in the house theyre using. I should think an Anker PowerHouse 521 – 256Wh | 200W per room would suffice.
Does that include the room with the supernatural force in it? Asking for a friend…
I suppose so. Moot point though as they’ll be dead I guess.
Noted as moot.
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?
It is, evil should sue for defamation !
Well, I was thinking more of breach of contract.
Would you be prepared to make an out of court settlement?
A million bucks?
In my back account by 5pm would solve it…
A million bucks in my account would solve a lot of things too.
Taking it out of your account would be the ideal way to move forward.
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.
Yes, first twenty mins took a bit of adjustment, but then again, most US shows need the same.
Any deviation from Standard Canadian English can be hard to process. Don’t know why the rest of the world holds on to these strange native dialects.
Sigh. Wherever I go in the world, there’s swooning at the musical tones of the Scottish dialect. Do you speak like a Canadian?
I guess it’s like a Canadian. But we just call it speaking normal.
I’m sure some people enjoy a Scottish accent. There was a guy on the CBC a while back talking about Paddington though and I swear nobody could understand a word he was saying.
People still talking about that? A historic broadcast much like Orson Welles War of the Worlds. A JFK moment for a generation…
“Versus” has yakuza vs zombies…
That sounds like a good combo…
It is actually an excellent little movie, and this is coming from someone who despises zombies.