The Black Gate (2017)

After the murder of their parents, siblings David and Sarah investigate what happened to them. While looking for answers, they run into a group of criminals on the run from something that might not be from this world.

Director: Fabrice Martin, Guilliaume Beylard

Cast: Nicolas Couchet, Jeanne Dessart, Jonathon Raffin, Michel Coste, Carl Laforet

MPAA Rating: N/A

Fun Fact: A film from France.

It has been a while since I have done an independent feature. Immersing myself in different film culture, I have found myself more educated in different independent films from around the world, especially from France. The Black Gate is the latest feature that I have seen from France and just like the previous two it is a horror feature.

The Black Gate is a throwback to classic horror films from the 70’s and the 80’s. I got a heavy George Romero and Sam Raimi feel to this film. It has its moments of scares, thrills and chills, and gore that make the film work. It also has fantasy elements with creatures coming from a different world. The storyline has a classic feel to it as it is a brother and sister searching for answers. While the film progresses, we get to know the characters of Sarah and David, who are played by Jeanne Dessart and Nicolas Couchet respectfully. Dessart and Couchet have great chemistry and they come off as brother and sister. They just want to know what is going on in their family and Sarah has been having haunting visions that her brother while going with the flow does not really believe in what is going on. It is the journey they go on that make the characters progress from the beginning to the end. So, you can say they have a nice arch to them. When they meet up with the gang of criminals, we get a solid performance from Jonathon Raffin as the gang leader. His character is such a jerk that you want to see something happen to him.

When I mentioned that this reminded me of a George Romero and Sam Raimi film, I meant that the technical achievements for an independent feature are like the early films those two directors had made in their careers. Featured in the film is a book that the characters have. This book looks amazing and is one of the best props from the film. The makeup on the undead is fantastic. They look creepy and with the right lighting and color, it brings a menacing look to them. When the creatures are attacking the human characters, the camera gives us a distorted view of them that brings the thrills that the movie provides. When the human characters attack the creatures, the gore make up effects are spot on as well. It gives the film a fun gory surprise to it and these scenes bring the film to a certain life. We get unique visuals with the different types of color used in the backgrounds. For an independent feature it does have some decent special effects to it. One thing that was great was the music written for the film. It has a high energy to it that whenever it was on, I was nodding my head to it. I just wish there were a soundtrack to the film that I could find.

Another thing that I loved was some of the old school film making in the production. There are some scenes that are meant to happen at night and the film makers used a filter. Not only was it a tribute to the films from long ago, it also gives the film a different color that the rest of the film gives us as well. It was a nice touch to the film that you do not really see much anymore.

Overall, The Black Gate is a fun horror film. It is a tribute and a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s horror film featuring zombie like creatures. It has unique visuals and the make up work is outstanding for an independent feature. The music kicks it into high gear as well as it has a fast-paced feel to it. We have solid acting from our two leads that have a decent written storyline to them. Another solid performance from Jonathon Raffin, gives us a side villain that you will love to hate. While the film has the fun, it also brings out the horror in unique ways through distorted camera angles and colors that make the film what it is. It also has its fantasy elements and through the special effects and old school film making, we get to see a different world as well. Check it out if you want to see something unique.

The Black Gate is available on Vimeo for rent an purchase.

Verdict: Hit

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