REVIEW: The Gatehouse
– By LastBoneStands
The unknown parts of the forest have always held mysteries that intrigue those brave enough to seek them out. In modern times, humans go into the woods for many reasons. Perhaps they just want to get away from modern society and experience the quiet majesty of Mother Nature without interruption. Maybe they enter with hopes of discovering something forgotten and unknown, ya know, like bigfoot or dogman. What if these ancient, undiscovered tracts of forest still held secrets, long forgotten by man?
Martin Gooch explores this idea in his film The Gatehouse. In the film, a single father and his daughter live on the edge of an old forest. To pass the time, the pair regularly go into the woods to search of treasure. Usually the trinkets found were planted by Jack (the father) so that Eternity (the daughter) would have something to find. On one such treasure hunting quest, Eternity finds something in the woods that she should have left alone. What follows is an ancient force that awakens and begins to display its displeasure to anyone unlucky enough to traverse its woodland, seeking the return of its lost possession.
The story of The Gatehouse is part horror, part fantasy adventure. The main character, Eternity is a strong-willed little girl that finds out there is more to her world than her father would like her to think. She has a lot to contend with throughout the run time of the film including the death of her mother, a haunted house and a nature demon. While the tone is a bit on the dark side of things, her character is not a typical one-note morose “woe-is-me” type. She is more of a grab life by the balls and make it squeal sort. The character of Eternity was masterfully portrayed and brought to life by the young Scarlett Rayner. She makes Eternity a loveable character that is both mischievous as well as relatable, making one recall their own youthful exploits and adventures.
While not loaded with scares, the scares in this film tend to be more of the jump startle variety, but they are very well done for the most part. The scene with Jack entering the bedroom and looking under the bed for monsters specifically comes to mind. Great stuff, that!
The Gatehouse is not just a story about ghosts and tree demons, however. This is also a story of what it means to lose a loved one and continue life after the loss, as well as having respect for and living in harmony with the natural world that is so easily forgotten with all of our modern conveniences. Somethings are best left alone, to be viewed and enjoyed rather than handled and taken.