“The Gateway” (2018)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Written by: John V. Soto & Michael White
Directed by: John V. Soto
Featuring: Jacqueline McKenzie, Myles Pollard, Hayley McElhinney
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This week sees the release of a throwback of sorts a direct to DVD sci-fi movie, “The Gateway” (2018) which by today’s standards is a bit of a dud but twenty years ago may have held the interest longer as well as actually being a novelty. However what really lets this movie down is the complete unoriginality of the plot which can be seen in almost any genre television series of the past few decades, parallel universes can be considered de rigueur for pretty much any genre show so if you plan to make a movie with this as its central premise it has better be very good or have some kind of unique hook to it, unfortunately “The Gateway” does not so it is an awkward as well as not a very satisfying viewing. When making low budget movies, of which this most definitely is, the standard genre to attempt is horror because of the many devices used it is easier to hide the fact that money is short, it is also easier to give characters depth while also moving the plot forward, especially if there are no twists or very little actual originality. If you look at the oeuvre of working directors there will always be at least one horror movie, maybe more as it is a great way to gain experience as well as sell these genre movies to streaming services or even on DVD.
However for some reason director John V. Soto has decided to create this sci-fi movie where it is obvious from the beginning that the budget is low and there is no hiding the fact especially with the locations, the actors and the script, which are not fantastic. In terms of the look of the movie it is shot in close up with very little wide shots so as to disguise, clumsily I might add, the fact that there were few usable locations as well as no money for CGI to hide the different dimensions which for a movie like this is one of the more basic requirements. The other aspect is the technology which look’s like it is from the 1990s not approaching 2020; not only that but the ay it works as well as the laboratory look like this is a student movie. In fact that it is what the entire movie reeks of, a student movie that has been out together with the assistance of other students.
Director and writer John V. Soto has a history in genre movies with his most notable success being the horror “Needles” (2010) that featured a couple of up and coming stars but since that has made fairly routine Australian thrillers which has led to this movie, more or less which again is not positive. It is a very odd thing but it feels like the director has been transported from the 1990s to now as the way in which these types of sci-fi stories are being told is very different, also as I have mentioned this story would normally have ended up on a television show not in a movie, there is very little to hold the idea of this story together which is a real shame.
“The Gateway” is based around a particle physicist grieving over the loss of her husband in a car crash travels to a parallel world to find him again, with dire consequences for her family. The plot is exactly that as well as thin as paper, not much work has gone into his beyond the initial idea of the story.
The lead actor is Jacqueline McKenzie who has the most experience in terns of high profile projects and frankly this movie is beneath her talents, she holds this together through her skill but there is little else to recommend as the performances by the rest of the cast is mediocre at best which means there is a gap in the believability of the entire movie but then that is just another nail in the coffin of “The Gateway”.
“The Gateway” if it was any kind of good movie would have ended up on Netflix as content is king and if a movie is any good but does not make the leap to a cinema you had better believe that the streaming giant would buy it for their international service, but this is not really good enough for them so we wind up with it on DVD which means it will probably not be seen. In saying tat it may end up on some service and if it does that is when I would watch this movie, but it does not need to be a part of any collection.