The Film (4/5)
Al (Christa Denton) and Glen (Stephen Dorff) are left alone for the weekend when their parents leave town with Al left in charge. Being young, and of course irresponsible they immediately go about having friends over, and having a party, including Glen's friend, Terry. As it turns out a tree recently removed from the yard leaves a gaping hole to Hell in their backyard which leaves the kids, their friends, and the house open to supernatural occurrences. This includes levitation gone awry, a workman who pulls people into other dimensions, and little demonic minions who invade the house from Hell.
The Gate is one of the few PG-13 horror films of the 80's period, and holds up well as a haunted house/demon thriller, and also as a quality horror film that's appropriate to show kids that are interested in the genre. The film has a lot of effective shocks and scares, but nothing that would make the film inappropriate for an all ages crowd. Yet, the film is still effective 30 years on.
The film is grounded by solid direction from director Tibor Takacs who keeps the film paced well, and never lets things slow down too much after they kick off. The film's running time is not that long, and that also helps it pack a solid punch. The performances from the mostly child and teen cast are effective. Nothing is Oscar worthy here, but it doesn't need to be. Of course, what the real treat for fans are is the films fantastic horror and monster FX. As this was the 80's and pre-CGI, it is all practical, and still holds up quite well for the most part.
Vestron Video presents the Gate in a quite solid 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. The transfer is quite a solid upgrade from prior DVD editions, everything here looks natural and filmlike with detail being decent, blacks coming across strong, and colors being naturally reproduced. There is some minor softness throughout, but the Gate has always been a very soft looking film.
Audio chores are handled DTS-HD 2.0 track in English. Everything comes through crisp and clear, and I did not detect any issues with the track.
There are multiple commentary tracks with the director, cast, and crew. An isolated score, audio interviews, and multiple featurettes by Red Shirt Pictures that detail the making of The Gate from all differing perspectives. There are also trailers, TV spots, and galleries.
The Gate is one of the best all ages horror films of the 80's. The film still holds up nicely nearly 30 years after it's release. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, and is loaded with extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.