The Gateway (2015)
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The Gateway (aka Curtain) is a strange film. A very strange film.
It begins with a clearly distressed man returning home to his apartment where he has taped over the bathroom door. There's something nasty in there...
Move forward a little and our main character Danni (Danni Smith) is moving into the now empty apartment. For a while nothing much happens as Danni mopes around feeling sorry for herself and her miserable life. Things change when she tries to improve the apartment by putting up a new shower curtain.
So she tries again, with the same result.
Yes folks, The Gateway is about a strange portal that eats shower curtains...
At the urging of her colleague Tim (Tim Lueke), Danni decides to try and find out more about where the portal leads. Which proves to be a mistake as it embroils the pair with some rather nasty people. And things.
At 74 minutes The Gateway is definitely short and might be criticised for taking too long to get going. However I found myself carried along by the weirdness and Henrie-McCrea's superbly tight and atmospheric direction. The whole ludicrous story is played absolutely straight which makes some of the dialogue very funny indeed.
Acting from Smith and Lueke is excellent. Some of the support cast are rather over the top, but that's intentional and adds to the bizarre, dark humour. Danni and Tim work for a whale conservation charity which is presumably intended to make them more sympathetic - however that backfired in my case as I despise chuggers. However the script does manage some character development and eventually I even warmed to the over-intense Tim.
By the end we have a good feel for roughly what's going on - but be warned that we never get a full explanation. There are lots of loose ends that you'll be required to fill in yourself.
The Gateway is an excellent demonstration of how to take a simple idea and make a fascinating story on almost no budget. It's not often I can say a film is like nothing I've ever seen before. The extreme weirdness and lack of closure mean it won't be for everyone but I found it a great watch.