As a fan of Irish film, I jumped at the chance to view Writer/Director Niall Owens’ Gateway, hoping to discover another hidden gem of the genre. Unfortunately, this one is a bit underwhelming, missing the mark to make it memorable.
The film is a slow burn story that follows Mike (Tim Creed), a drug dealer who’s in over his head with a supplier. Mike and his partners in crime, desperate to make up the cash they owe, discover an abandoned house that seems perfect for a growing operation.
Not long after claiming the house as their territory, a mysterious, locked room is discovered upstairs. One by one, the door is opened by all of the men, and each must face their darkest secrets and fears.
While this film won’t be making my favorites list, it does have some solid pieces holding it together. The premise is intriguing, and there’s enough suspense to keep most viewers hanging on.
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The main focus is on universal human experiences—the emotions surrounding grief and guilt. This makes the story relatable and will snag some viewers on that basis. Mike, who recently lost his sister and is still reeling from her death. Throughout their time in the house, we see our main character and his friends unravel, and this is the most entertaining portion of the film.
When I say this is a slow burn, I’m not exaggerating. This usually works for me, but it took so long to build to the action that I found myself a bit bored and losing interest early on. The film’s action and emotion-packed scenes would have been more effective if the build-up focused on more background for each character’s struggles.
I found the scenes focused on dialogue to be a bit quiet compared to the action scenes. This does not make or break the film, but it should be noted. Some viewers may struggle with this in combination with the actors’ accents.
Some other positive points include the cinematography and the atmospheric feel to the scenery and the inside of the house itself. The score fit well with the scenes and stood out, especially during the slower first half of the film.
If you’re looking for suspense and a film with heart, you’ll likely find that in Gateway, but it might be a struggle to stay interested until the action picks up. I do think it’s a film that has its audience, and a second viewing might be what’s needed for a better understanding of the intent.
Gateway is available now on digital.
WICKED RATING: 5/10