Don’t go into the darkness!

One afternoon in Anytown, USA, a strange entity arrives on earth. A group of high school students stuck after school are the first ones to make contact with a metallic, telepathic wall of mystery and it doesn’t end well for anyone. After some time has passed, and science has caught up with itself, a group of scientist make a trip into the wall only to find out that this thing has a way of screwing with your mental faculties. Eventually, someone finds a way to communicate with the wall, but it will soon learn that it’s wasting it’s time on our planet.

A combination of four vignettes directed by three directors (Saman Kesh, Jeff Desom, Dugan O’Neal) linked together with narration from an unseen podcaster, makes the movie feel uneven at places and lacks any cohesive plot. It’s as if four short films were created independently and brief wrap-a-rounds were written to connect them.

Stunning visuals and cinematography coupled with top notch VFX for an independent feature can not save this dull, incoherent film. We don’t get to spend enough time with the characters to care about what happens to them and what we do see never gets any resolution or pay off. The film feels like we are watching the first act of three individual movies rather than one completed feature. The actors, including Josh Peck, are doing the best they can with this Annihilation inspired sci-fi fantasy, but we are left wondering what this alien is and what happened in between different time jumps.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Signature Entertainment presents PORTAL on Digital Platforms and DVD 19th April

Review – Portal

Reviewed online (screener provided by Signature Entertainment), April 6, 2021. Rating: M. Running time: 84 min.

PRODUCTION: (UK) A Signature Entertainment release of a Bloody Disgusting, BoulderLight Pictures production. Producers: Saman Kesh, Miranda Kahn, J.D. Lifshitz, Jimmy Loweree, Raphael Margules, Brad Miska, Kimberly Stuckwisch, Chris White. Executive producers: Patrick Ewald, Aaron Dean Eisenberg, Tom Owen.

CREW: Directors: Jeff Desom, Saman Kesh, Dugan O’Neal. Writers: Chris White, Saman Kesh, Jeff Desom, Ed Hobbs, Dugan O’Neal. Cinematography: Todd Banhazl, John Schmidt, Starr Whitesides. Editing: Chad Van Horn, Chris Coupland. Music: John Beltrán.

CAST: Julianne Collins, Aric Generette Floyd, Rory Anne Dahl, Josh Peck, Lina Esco, Dugan O’Neal, Bailee Comperthwaite, Jordan Rock, Cru Ennis, Wilson Bethel.

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