THE GATE is a nostalgic reminder of childhood fears that offers some of the most amazing effects of any low budget Horror entry. The film begins inconspicuously enough with two young boys uncovering a geode in a hole in the backyard. After cracking it open and reading an ancient inscription generated by the stone, the two unwittingly unlock a gateway to another dimension that unleashes the evil spirits and demonic entities that were locked within. Although the picture is kid-friendly for the most part, it is not without its scares. There are several deathly terrifying sequences throughout the plot, the most disturbing of which involve the demons masking themselves as evil versions of the kids' parents while attempting to destroy them. Each of the young actors (including Stephen Dorff in an early role) deliver strong performances that feel genuine and relateable.
The most memorable aspects of THE GATE are unquestionably the special FX work. For a film of its size and scale, no other film boasts such an incredible production design. In addition to stop-motion animation, director Tibor Takacs also incorporates miniature set designs with gigantic demonic beasts as well as tiny minions that each interact with the children in a series of incredible green-screening shots that seamlessly meld the range of characters on screen. Though it takes its time in creating a growing tension and suspense, the gate literally unleashes hell on earth once it has been fully unlocked. THE GATE is the perfect argument against the use of computerized imaging in film, and serves as one of the strongest examples of a low budget Horror film accomplishing a big budget look and feel through imaginative FX and a unique plot. It is mandatory 80s viewing for all genre fans!
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