Beyond the Gates (2016) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Jackson Stewart
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Brea Grant, Ryan Kunert
Rated: UR/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available From Scream Factory/IFC Midnight
Two estranged brothers reunite at their missing father’s video store to liquidate the property and sell off his assets. As they dig through the store, they find a VCR board game dubbed ‘Beyond The Gates’ that holds a connection to their father’s disappearance and deadly consequences for anyone who plays it.
VHS is a format I’m always going to have a soft spot for. This is mainly due to the fact that I grew up renting the darn things at an honest to goodness video store. VHS board games were something I was very aware of but never actually had the chance to own one. Beyond the Gates takes those things and makes a pretty good little movie out of them. It is a movie that tugs at the heart strings of the nostalgic but perhaps gets a little too reserved to truly be great. We open in the year 1992 with a family gathered around a video store and then we shoot to present day when the two sons of the man who owned the store have apparently vanished. They apparently assume the worst as they are closing up the store and cleaning all the old tapes and such out of it. We can tell they aren’t the closes brothers we’ve ever seen and that tension does get some focus here. They go about working on family and relationship stuff until they run across the “Beyond the Gates” VHS board game. That is where they play it, see some weird stuff, and then we are off and running on a quest to see where their dad has gone and if he can or can’t be saved. The movie really seems to be a bit slowly building up to an epic finale but sadly things stay a little more grounded in these moments than what we might have hoped for. It isn’t bad by any means but you have to assume money or such could have played a factor.
You do get the lovely Barbara Crampton as the host of the board game. She is just about a perfect fit for this movie as you could have found in my opinion. As our host and “gate keeper, ” she sets a very eerie tone to the film and plays her part perfectly. Some of the performances can be a bit dry at times (and for some, I think that was the point), but she does a great job. I can also same the same about Brea Grant who is playing the girlfriend to one of our brothers. She gives a noteworthy performance as well. While this is a movie that does take its time from time to time it also gives us a couple of really good gore scenes. One with a head comes to mind right off the bad, but this isn’t a movie that is not afraid to give the viewer some of the red stuff when need be. All in all, I liked Beyond the Gates a lot. I don’t think I loved it, but I’d very much recommend horror fans check it out, as I do believe it brings new stuff to horror in areas that we’ve not yet traveled to until now. It might even make you pick-up a few of those old VHS games, but if this movie shows us anything it is to be very careful about which ones we mess around with.
– Audio Commentary With Director/Co-Writer Jackson Stewart, Actors Barbara Crampton And Jesse Merlin, Director Of Photography Brian Sowell, And Co-Writer Stephen Scarlata
– Audio Commentary With Director/Co-Writer Jackson Stewart And Actors Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, And Graham Skipper
– Audio Commentary With Junk Food Dinner Podcast Hosts Kevin Moss, Parker Bowman, And Sean Byron
– Audio Commentary With Director/Co-Writer Jackson Stewart And Production Assistant Dan Fisk
– Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
– Deleted Scenes
– Premiere Q&A – Moderated By Famed Horror Director Stuart Gordon
– Sex Boss Short Film
– Theatrical Trailer
– Retro Beyond The Gates Commercial
Quality of Transfer: 95%