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But to free himself from the hauntings he has to let go of his family but doing so involves battling demonic creatures who seek to keep his family’s souls for themselves. Matthews eventually meets another American who also lost a family member to the demonic creatures. Warren Mills (William Hurt) is a fellow American and kind of an old hippie sage who agrees to lead Matthews to the Hellgate in order to finally put his loved one’s souls to rest. But to do so he has to cross over into a spirit dimension populated by slavering demons who want to keep him there.
Hellgate is a very low budget film and apparently what budget they did have went to Elwes and Hurt because it certainly didn’t go towards any convincing visual effects. What effects the film does have comes mainly in the way of makeup. A lot of it is typical Asian-style horror makeup…you know, women with long dark hair and dark eyes popping out to provide cheap scares. The “demons” look more like zombies with mouths dripping in blood and pale eyes.
Elwes and Hurt are old pros and give fine performances as you would expect but they are caught up in a production with bad material which crawls at a snail’s pace.
"Hellgate" does have an interesting premise and writer-director John Penney does create an atmospheric looking film, he just fails to create memorable characters with any sense of depth.
When Jeff Matthews (Elwes)travels to Thailand he finds his life filled with tragedy--his wife and son are killed in a car accident while traveling with Matthews. When Matthews recovers he discovers that he can see the shadow world--a world between the living and the dead where restless, trapped spirits exist along with creatures that are trying to pull Matthews into their world. With the assistance of Choi (Ploy Jindachote in a woefully underwritten part)his care giver and Warren (Hurt) a man who has experienced the shadow world before, Jeff tries to find a way to protect himself from the shadow world before it consumes him.
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The film looks impressive especially given its small budget ($5 million)but, ultimately, the film just doesn't deliver and isn't much better than a Syfy channel original movie. It's a pity because the premise of the film and the performances from Elwes and Hurt are much stronger than the film itself.
If you feel compelled to see "Hellgate", I'd suggest a rental.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)
Jeff (played by Cary Elwes) only wanted to take his wife and son to visit their family in Thailand, but a freak automobile accident robs his loved ones of their lives. He's left behind - broken and battered from the crash - but, when he awakens, he realizes that he's been `blessed' with the ability to see into the Shadow World, a frightening bridge to the Other Side where those suffering in a kind of proverbial limbo share a bloody afterlife. However, this psychic bridge is slowly sucking Jeff's life away.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this used, thank goodness, at the local video store, forced myself to finish it (hoping for it to get better, but it never did), and actually just threw it in the trash... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Doctor Dean
Cary Elwes is the only reason I gave any stars at all. Luckily for this director that Cary Elwes was willing to do this thing. Luckily for me that he's as good looking as he is.Published on May 22, 2013 by Z. Oliver
Cary ewles, & John Hurt, either really needed work, or we're doing a friend a favor. Story line was week, so we're the effects. Read morePublished on May 12, 2013 by C. Aulford
"Hellgate" is a ghost story with an above-average cast. On a visit to Bangkok, American Jeff (Cary Elwes, "The Princess Bride"), his Thai wife, Sua, and their son, Kyle, are hit... Read morePublished on March 28, 2013 by The Movie Man
HELLGATE is kind of a reversal on TV's GHOST WHISPERER. Instead of the dead needing closure, it's the living with the unfinished business. Read morePublished on March 23, 2013 by Michael Butts