Monday, October 4, 2010
Movie #8 An American Haunting and Movie #9 The Gate
I had mediocre expectations for this movie, a friend of mine told me about it and how it was one of the few horror movies that she found actually terrifying, so of course I was interested. I'm sad to say that I did not enjoy this movie one bit.
The movie starts off very strong in present day with a woman and her daughter, and we're sucked into the real movie by a series of letters written to warn us about the "bell witch." The first couple of minutes in the earlier time period are even watchable, but then it just goes down hill.
Yes it is explained why the bell witch (should they really call it that? It's more of a poltergeist.) torments the young girl, but in my opinion it's a very stupid reason and makes the movie seem like it was all a waste of my time. The times when the witchghostthing attacks are never entertaining from a horror stand point. The entire movie is very boring and not scary, and I'm sorry Donald Sutherland I really like you, but this movie was terrible.
The Gate is part of a tradition of horror movies in the 80s to have strong adolescent/child actors in great horror movies (Lost Boys, Fright Night, Poltergeist)
The movie centers around three kids, the leading child went on to play one of my all time favorite vampires and the leading role in one of my favorite comedies: Stephen Dorff, who accidentally open a gate to let all these demons loose while their parents are away.
It certainly sounds like an 80s movie, and if that's what you want you won't be disappointed. The script for this movie is pretty good, yeah the dialogue is cheesy but that's how kids talked in the 80s. The movie has a quality that all of you know I like, patience. Nothing happens that is too creepy for about the first 30 minutes, and then things get real. The effects aren't good, but they work (partially based on nostalgia value, claymation anyone?).
I like this movie because it tackles a subject (demons) that isn't too seldom done in this fashion, and because it is essentially a kid/teenager movie that happens to have demons in it.
I highly recommend this one if you haven't seen it and though I didn't find The Gate particularly scary now, if I had seen this movie as a kid it would have chilled me to the bone and caused me to lose sleep, no lie. This isn't one of my favorite 80s horror movies, but it would certainly be included on the honorable mention.