Director: Nick Lyon.
Starring. Chris Schellenger, Katy Reece, Austin Scott, Laurie Kynaston, USA. 1h 27m.
For a movie made with a “low” budget and special effects from about 20 years ago, it’s not terrible but it’s lacking a bit of energy in places but for a TV horror it’s quite different from the normal gumpf that you get served on a regular basis, but this seems to be by pure accident more than intent. Lyon’s falls into many of the typical horror traps, but it seems to be his style as he’s the father of a huge range of ‘tastrophy movies that all swim in the same stream, but somewhere in there is a fairly interesting story but delivered by a bunch of wailing idiots…
They thought they opened the portal to somewhere cool…
Some bright hopeful students successfully create a portal but unfortunately for them they open a doorway into hell, for some reason the film doesn’t show them coming together for this project, which is that touch of background that really introduces the characters but we’re landed into a situation where giant craters that lead into hell are being reported on the TV and the students are in the thick of it.
The rest of the movie seems to be an exercise in what not to do when you’re in hell, and slowly they play through all the cliches of horror, pretending it’s not happening, screaming when you’re supposed to be hiding, splitting up and “staying behind” rather than running for your life. But what sets this apart from other awesome Hell movies like Baskin, is that the atmosphere is forever changing and there isn’t a personal point of retribution and no king of hell to defeat. For argument sake this isn’t a personal journey, it is a science experiment gone wrong but seriously if you opened a portal into another dimension or whatever, you’d be prepped before you went in right?
So “Hell” has some massive doors with (incorrectly translated) Latin writing over them, and is filled with a crazy ecosystem and many themes like the Crystal Maze but with more teeth and nails. Some areas are neo-classical, others look like a post apocalyptic urban landscape and there’s even a girly scene on a gothic staircase. There’s just no method to this madness which isn’t a problem and it’s admiral to make a film about Hell but not to know which Hell you’re describing and where the fuck is the Devil/Satan/Lucifer/Hades/Anubis etc etc etc there’s no head honcho to battle against it’s just a maze of random monsters.
Most of the monsters seem to come from a fantasy book cover, and some of the “dog like” animals are cheap CGI versions of the “dogs” in Ghostbusters. The only stand out beastie what interested me was based in a pseudo morgue/operating room where one of the unlucky graduates finds himself strapped to a table with a mummified nun/nurse like creature inserting worms into his stomach, these stand out scene was gory and sadistic and fun, but it doesn’t last. The idea that each person went through some individual was never maximized on, there’s no background that leads to their fate or predicament which could have given the film that extra human element but instead it’s all a random mix.
Generally these films are littered with the worst acting on the planet, which I understand is part of the charm, but Kynaston really raised the bar, in the few scenes that he was involved in, hopefully he can put this genre behind him and move onto something a bit more artistic, but everyone else is doomed..
I get a vague feeling of where this movie was supposed to go, hopefully it achieved Lyon’s wildest wishes but for me it just felt a bit clunky and misshapen, but there’s just not enough entertainment to make me sit through this again for the lame ending…
R – Baskin/ Raid (2015)
L – Opening the Gates of Hell,