Beyond the Gates (2016 film)

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Promotional image for Beyond the Gates (2016 film)...


"Press 'Play', and pray...." 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.



MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: not rated (probably equivalent to an 'R' for Violence, Profanity, Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • Ss___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone)

This film is sort of an Evil Dead -style pastiche/parody of the standard, generic, imitation-Lovecraftian plot about one or more victims stumbling on a cursed book and then getting killed off in surreal, tentacled ways, only in this case the "tome" takes the form of a gimmicky 1980s-to-early-1990s-style board game of the sort that included elaborate electronic props (batteries not included) and VCR tapes. Fans of cheesy 1980s Lovecraft horror adaptations might appreciate seeing Barbara Crampton, a veteran of a number of such films, playing the role of the video-tape Game Mistress "Evelyn".

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Che Gilson at UK Horror Scene (link) - (6/10) "What the film was actually good at, was not the horror aspects, or the VCR game shtick. It was actually an interesting film about estranged brothers with a troubled past and uneasy relationship mending fences... a good family drama about reconciliation and a pretty mediocre horror film."
  • Michael Klug at HorrorFreak News (link) - (4/5 Stars) "...Well-mixed into the drama and horror, there’s a fantastical, child-like quality to the film. And that feeling of nostalgia (of board games and VHS and brothers and made-up games played in your childhood basement) is a great big selling point for Beyond the Gates...."
  • Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (link) (2/5 Stars) - "The film seems too slow, never creates much urgency about the playing of the game. It is a measure of how ineffective a horror work is when it needs to resort to fake dream scenes in order to make an audience jump. An interesting idea but it ends up not very well presented or that interesting a film."
  • Martin Wakefield at BloodGuts UK Horror (link) - (2/5) "Despite a few gory deaths, and very gory they are, there’s little in between to keep you interested in the unfolding events that have no drama or tension about them."

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
Estranged brothers brought back together following their father's funeral to handle the disposition of his struggling home video store discover a VCR Board Game relic from their childhood - a cursed game which connects the brothers and their friends directly to the supernatural world beyond the gates, forcing them to play the dangerous game with their lives and the father's soul at stake....


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • The 'rules' for the game are actually the set of rules for Ouija.
  • Chase Williams ("John") was also "David Wong" in John Dies At the End (2012 film), a movie about two friends (Dave & John) who fight supernatural forces.
  • The name of the character, Gordon, is likely a nod to the horror director, Stuart Gordon; the director of Beyond the Gates also interned for Stuart Gordon.
  • Barbara Crampton, veteran actress from a number of low-budget 1980s Lovecraft adaptations (generally directed by Stuart Gordon), produced and also plays Game Mistress "Evelyn" in this film.

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes

  • In a one-shot adventure, a group of young "investigators" discover that the cheesy 1980s board (or role-playing) game they are playing is actually a supernatural link to a world "Beyond the Gates"....
  • The board game Beyond the Gates (tome) might substituted for a standard-issue Mythos tome in game plots inspired by 1980s nostalgia and/or stoner humor inspired plots.