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Beyond the Gates of Hell


Genre: Horror
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 5m
Director(s): Dustin Ferguson
Writer(s): Dustin Ferguson
Cast: Traci Burr, Eric Larsen, Brinke Stevens, Robert Lankford
Where To Watch: Available on DVD and streaming VOD now

RAVING REVIEW: As a horror movie enthusiast, I always have high hopes for each film I watch. My opinion is torn when it comes to Dustin Ferguson's BEYOND THE GATES OF HELL. This film pays homage to the classic Italian horror master Lucio Fulci and tries to incorporate elements of the 70's grindhouse style.

Unfortunately, Ferguson’s films have become quantity over quality, pumping out so many a year that it's impossible to care about them honestly. While the director's extensive filmography, with 137 credits since 2007, including several Amityville (cash gra…) sequels, is impressive, it does not guarantee that the movie will stand out. In this case, the grainy home video effect, while initially intriguing, becomes monotonous.

The film begins with a retelling of a murder from the Fulci film, which adds an exciting touch. The story follows a young couple who purchase a beautiful home in the countryside only to discover its dark history of brutal murders. The basement is rumored to lead to the gates of Hell, which only increases the mystery and suspense.

The story's impact is limited by its short running time. Clocking in at under 40 minutes without the end credits and the fake trailers at the beginning, I’m sure there’s a rhyme and reason as to why this was done, but in general, you end up with a film that never really can take off. While Traci Burr shines as the lead actress, the rest of the cast still needs to reach a higher performance level.

However, it's important to note that direct-to-video movies like "Beyond the Gates of Hell" often lack the resources and budget of major studio productions, resulting in lower production values. So ultimately, while it may feel like I’m trashing the film, I am still impressed and intrigued by the effort the entire cast and crew put in.

In conclusion, if you're in the mood for a low-budget horror film with a touch of the 70's grindhouse vibe for a fun and spooky movie night (this could be a better-shared experience with a group,) BEYOND THE GATES OF HELL might be worth checking out. But, as a film enthusiast, it's essential to keep your expectations in check and view it as a lighthearted popcorn flick rather than a masterpiece. The director and cast put their hearts and professionalism into the film, but it falls short of being a must-see indie movie.

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[photo courtesy of SCS ENTERTAINMENT]