DEVIL’S GATE BLU RAY REVIEW (SCREAM FACTORY / IFC MIDNIGHT)

Devil’s Gate (aKa Abduction) is a 2017 suspense thriller film co-written & directed by Clay Staub (Second Unit Director for Dawn of the Dead 2004, 300, & The Thing 2011). This is Clay Staub’s directorial debut. Devil’s Gate is a made up place & it doesn’t exist in North Dakota. What unholy force lies locked away in a crumbling, booby-trapped, middle-of-nowhere farmhouse? When Maria (played by: Bridget Regan from John Wick, Agent Carter, Legend of the Seeker, & White Collar) & her son Jonah (played by: Spencer Drever from Fargo TV series) mysteriously vanish, FBI agent Daria Francis (played by: Amanda Schull from 12 Monkeys, Suits, I Am Wrath, & J. Edgar) is dispatched to the small town of Devil’s Gate, North Dakota to investigate the number one suspect! A religious fanatic Jackson Pritchard (played by: Milo Ventimiglia from Rocky Balboa, Pathology, Gamer, Heroes, & Cursed) who also happens to be the husband & father of the missing persons. She is assisted by local deputy Conrad ‘Colt’ Salter (played by: Shawn Ashmore from X-men franchise, Frozen, The Following, & Mother’s Day). They are told by Sheriff Gruenwell (played by: Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek franchise, Gargoyles, North and South, & Falcon Crest ) not to question Jackson again & investigate other aspects of the case. They ignore their orders & go to the Pritchard property. Jackson is hiding something but it’s not murder! They discover a bizarre situation in the basement & it ends up becoming more than what they asked for. Can they survive this chaotic night with a man that they can’t even trust?

Devil’s Gate plays out like two different films during it’s original start in the first half & it’s end in the second half. At first, you get a dark cop suspense thriller with the two leads looking into these disappearances. Both have good chemistry & I thought it was a pretty good set up for what’s to come. I was curious what direction it was going into at a first glance because it seemed to be more normal than your usual IFC Midnight release but that changed once they got to Pritchard’s home. I’ve never seen this type of performance from Milo Ventimiglia so that was refreshing to see. He proved that he has more range than he’s usually given with the bigger projects he works on. That’s why I love independent film because it gives everyone a chance to shine on material they typically wouldn’t do. Devil’s Gate completely changes once they get to the main location. It shifts into more horror & science fiction territory. The bad weather added to the crazy atmosphere that it already had. I thought the special (Adrien Morot from Martyrs, Cult of Chucky, 300, Riddick, X-Men: Days of Future Past, & X-Men: Apocalypse) & visual effects (Jean-François Ferland from The Walking Dead, Arrival, & Assassin’s Creed) really stood out for being a low budget feature. It was packed with action & thrills once it switched genres so it had a nice pace to it & it kept me entertained until the very end! Definitely recommended to any horror, sci fi, & independent film fans out there.

Let’s talk about the high definition presentation. This 1080p (2.40:1) transfer looks great especially for being a independent low budget project. It’s a very stylish production thanks to Cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak (The Strain, Land of the Dead, Pontypool, & The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day). It features two different audio options English DTS-HD MA 5.1 & DTS-HD MA 2.0 plus English subtitles. The tracks really shine when it the bad weather kicks in! I was very impressed with both the picture & the sound from this new blu ray. It includes a DVD copy of the film. It has reversible artwork & a slipcover also. Scream Factory & IFC Midnight continue their creative collaboration with this Devil’s Gate release that just came out last Tuesday. I had fun with this, check it out!!!!