365 Days of Horror, Day 42: Hellgate (2011)

hellgate 2011 cary elwes

What the hell, Cary Elwes? You don’t need to do bad horror! This is why I was tempted to make this a sole short-film affair, because at least a shitty short horror movie is just 2-15 minutes of your life.

Perhaps it would have been better to look at Hellgate as a sort of…unfocused portrait of grief. Elwes plays a man who loses his wife and young son in a car accident, though his family’s painfully awful line delivery made me glad their screen time was swiftly snuffed out. He doesn’t fare too well either, ending up in a coma, and once he’s out, he starts to have gruesome visions of people he doesn’t know.

hellgate 2011

Turns out he can see dead people, including his family (sporadically), and he enlists a nurse and her aunt and some random old wise white hippie played by William Hurt to do a bunch of séance stuff and jungle pilgrimage and blah blah probably not even accurate anyway voodoo. It’s all just so predictable and linear and by-the-numbers.

Shot entirely on location in Thailand, every frame’s lighting is gorgeous and crisp. The Thai cast are sadly forced to act and emote in a language they’re clearly not comfortable acting and emoting, because, again, line delivery is awful and clunky, and you can tell that, especially with some of the older actors, that they would have knocked out some affecting performances if they’d just been allowed to speak in Thai with subtitles.

hellgate 2011The whole thing adds up to a bland, made-for-TV feel, so the bursts of gore are confusing rather than scary, sort of like a boring-faced corporate middle-manager swearing at a big meeting.

At least you can make it a drinking game out of it. Take a shot every time Elwes is covered in sweat. The poor fucker’s stress-drenched in about every other scene.

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