Beyond the Gates is a true little horror gem and it’s out on Netflix now! Made with an old school 80s vibe, it stars Barbara Crampton in a role perfect for her.
Without oversimplifying Beyond the Gates too much, I can’t help but want to describe it using a few other popular titles. Imagine if Jumanji and The Ring got together and made a horror love child. That’s pretty much what the plot in Beyond the Gates can deliver on. Oh, and sure, you can throw in a little Evil Dead vibe for good measure. Just to get that crazy 80s horror vibe in there.
Sounds pretty good, right?! Well, it is!
A video board game is at the heart of the story. And that’s video as in VCR. Like I said, we’re enjoying the greatness of the 80s in Beyond the Gates. I never played any of those games myself – despite being old enough to have my first movie collection be VCR based. And now I feel like I missed out. Or actually, I’m wondering why it hasn’t just moved on to becoming a digital thing instead. Somebody make this, would ya?
Anyway, Beyond the Gates features two brothers, who are at very different places in their lives. In fact, they don’t really connect much as adults. On any level. Still, when they meet up to empty their dad’s video store (dad never believed in the DVD boom), all their childhood memories return and they begin to reconnect.
The ultimate horror board game
The title of the movie comes from the board game the two brothers find at their dad’s office in the video store. Beyond the Gates is a video board game that turns out to be pure horror.
I mean, clearly, the game is based on horror, but it becomes very real. And really bloody!
The host and guide of the game is a woman, who guides them via the accompanying video tape. The woman is played by Barbara Crampton (We’re Still Here) and she is perfect in this role. She has just the right blend of being a helper and a threat. Without really doing much, you just know that she’s not one to piss off.
Be warned, that Beyond the Gates does start out a bit slow. It’s only in order to introduce the family dynamic and set the frame though, so it’s not something I found problematic.
An awesome cast in Beyond the Gates
Besides Barbara Crampton, Beyond the Gates also stars Chase Williamson and Graham Skipper as the brothers, John and Gordon. They’re both spot-on in this movie, but for me, Chase Williamson is always a scene stealer.
Basically, I’ve adored Chase Williamson since watching him in the awesome horror-comedy John Dies at the End from 2012. I will give pretty much any movie a chance, if he’s in it. He tends to do projects that have some sort of edge or craziness.
Brea Grant plays Gordon’s girlfriend and they’re actually a perfect trio. Each having their own skills and courage to keep things moving. It’s also nice that a spouse is in no way supposed to come between the siblings. Quite the opposite as she tends to be a much needed buffer at first, in this case.
We’ll get to see both Brea Grant and Barbara Crampton again soon in a new horror movie, since they’re both in Applecart. We may have to wait a while though, since it’s currently in production.
Jackson Stewart directed this movie, which serves as his feature film debut. He has made two short films in the past, and hopefully, he’ll get to do more feature films in the future. Also, Jackson Stewart co-wrote the script for Beyond the Gates with Stephen Scarlata. Scarlata also wrote Final Girl (2015), which was his screenwriter debut.
Beyond the Grave premiered at Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2016, where it won the “Nightfall Award”. From May 8, 2017, it has been available on Netflix in the US.
Director: Jackson Stewart
Writer: Stephen Scarlata, Jackson Stewart
Cast: Graham Skipper, Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Barbara Crampton, Matt Mercer, Justin Welborn
Two estranged brothers reunite at their missing father’s video store and find a VCR board game dubbed ‘Beyond The Gates’ that holds a connection to their father’s disappearance.