Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gate II - 2/5

It's always a bad sign when a studio shelves a movie for a year or two after being completed. In most cases the film is so bad the studio is embarrassed by the final results so they shelve the damn thing until they are forced to release it to an unsuspecting movie market to try to make small percentage of their investment back. Examples of films shelved with not very good reputations is RoboCop 3 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. This is why I was very apprehensive going into Gate II, a sequel to the surprisingly successful 1987 cult classic The Gate that was completed in 1990 but not released until 1992.

Despite the bad "shelving" reputation, Gate II didn't turn out near as bad as I thought it would. It's not a great horror film by any means but it's watchable at least. Here we have Louis Tripp, the nerdy friend from the original, return getting board yet again and dabbling with satanic rituals. During a black mass, he gets interrupted by some annoying punks who join him for some fun, then beat the shit of him. Louis, pissed off at the world, catches one of little minions seen in the original and finds out that these little bastards can grant wishes. All you have to do is burn an item representing the wish. For some reason wishes granted by a demon turn out to be shit (go figure!), literally, and all hell breaks out when the punks steal the little minion for their own wish granting. This results in a demon showdown!

The plot is a standard follow-up material and thanks to director Tibor Takacs returning it also feels like the original, just not as good or fun. You know, a typical sequel. By far the best aspect is the special effects. Though not "Star Wars" type stop motion, the large demon effects towards the end of the film do have a likable low budget charm to them, much like the original had. One aspect I wish this sequel had was Stephen Dorff returning. Louis Tripp, I'm sorry to say, is so damn ugly he makes it hard to look at the screen. Plus he's not a strong enough actor to carry a film. If only Stephen Dorff would have came back could this sequel have had a chance to be as likable as the first film.

Overall this sequel isn't terrible but it lacks the B-movie charm and likability of the The Gate making the gate stay closed for further sequels. Fans of the original will find something to enjoy but the film is a little difficult to find on DVD. So far the film has yet to be released in the U.S. and I had to import mine from the neighbors up north in Canada. That edition I have is also out of print so good luck hunting a copy down.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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