DEVIL’S GATE (2017)
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Flick finds FBI agent Daria Francis (Amanda Schull) traveling to the rural town of Devil’s Gate, North Dakota in search of a missing woman (Bridget Regan) and her son (Spencer Drever). Along with a local deputy (Shawn Ashmore), she decides to question the woman’s husband, Jackson Pritchard (Milo Ventimiglia), who is her prime suspect, even against the warnings of the local sheriff (Jonathan Frakes). Once at his remote farmhouse, Agent Francis discovers that those actually responsible for the disappearances may be something quite otherworldly.
Directed by Clay Staub from his script he co-wrote with Peter Aperlo, this is a sci-fi flick with severe X-Files envy. The film starts out intriguing enough with the death of a stranded motorist at the booby trapped Pritchard farmhouse and that Jackson has someone…or something…locked up in his basement. Once Agent Francis and Deputy Salter get there, we soon find that the basement’s occupant is definitely someTHING and what Pritchard claims to be demons are actually extraterrestrials. From here it becomes a routine alien movie of the Mars Needs Women variety with heavy doses of Mulder and Scully conspiracy theory. We’ve seen it all before, alien/human hybrids, abducted humans and captured extraterrestrials. After a decent start, this flick degenerates into a very routine, and sometimes silly alien abduction/conspiracy flick and not an all that great one at that. There is some entertainment here and Staub is a competent director, but it’s far too familiar to really make an impact.
The cast are fine enough. Schull makes a good FBI agent. She was tough and believable in the part. Ashmore and Frakes are solid as small town deputy and sheriff respectively and Ventimiglia is also fine as a simple farmer whose sanity we question. As for the extraterrestrials, their design and prosthetic representations are well done and effective, if not familiar.
Devil’s Gate can be amusing at times, but is too derivative to really grab you. The film is technically well done, but reuses too many plot elements from previous extraterrestrial films and TV series to really stand out. The initial opening catches ones interest, but once we find out we’ve seen a lot of this on the X-Files, it loses a lot of it’s momentum.