Although death is a natural part of life, grief can cut deeper than the sharpest knife with shock, loss, and a severe sense of emptiness. The Gateway, a new short by Charles Chudabala (read our interview with him here), exemplifies exactly this in only nine minutes.
Opening with a tarot card reading, Jess (Jennifer Nangle – read our interview with her here) comes off as a well-meaning bitch with a bold opinion as she reads the fortune of her best friend, Cruz (Chudabala). However, Jess isn’t the only one with a message, and this story quickly takes a ghostly turn.
Low budget horror requires an excellent crew working as a team and an eye for detail. And the crew behind The Gateway does just that. Back from Chudabala’s previous short film, 40uR (read our review of the film here), is cinematographer Richard Aguirre. Despite the modest budget, Aguirre flushes out haunting imagery frame by frame with creative detail.
Showcasing an outstanding character arc in a short amount of time, Nangle goes from being nonchalantly opinionated to shocked and grief stricken resulting in a whirlwind of despair. Enhancing onscreen emotion is Chudabala as good memories are shown followed by confused pleas for help. All this sentiment is wrapped and radiated by music composed by Bryson Taylor (Yours Mine Ours, You Shouldn’t Have).
Although the overall idea is accurately conveyed, the audience is still left in some darkness regarding certain details of a character’s death and the reasons behind it. A quick additional flashback scene or two could have illuminated this part of the story for full effect.
Small constructive criticism aside, The Gateway is a haunting tale of grief and sorrow and is a wonderful addition to Charles Chudabala’s filmography. Watch this powerful short film free of charge by clicking the link below!