THE GATEWAY MEAT (2008) Dir. Ron DeCaro, USA, 69 mins
So, here's hoping everyone enjoyed last month's series of top 5 lists, but for May we're back to the serious business of reviewing! This week it's a movie that has been on my radar for a long term, but frankly is pretty hard to come by – Ron DeCaro's The Gateway Meat. Now, while I know this is the third of a trilogy, it's so often mentioned as one of the most disturbing movies out there that I simply couldn't resist a look at it first. Odds are I will come back to Eating Razors and The White Lie at some point, but for now I'll be looking at the conclusion on its own merits.
We begin with one of those hardcore content warnings – which I'm sure are just pretty much red rags to a bull for most viewers – before we meet the family at the heart of their story. They're just getting over the death of Markus's father, a renowned Satan worshipper, and Markus (played by DeCaro himself) is trying to figure out how to carry on his dad's work. We meet some of his dark and strange friends along the way, as well as his very supportive wife and young daughter (indeed played by DeCaro's own daughter) as they finally decide to move house into Grandpa's old place in an effort to open a portal to hell in the basement.
Plot-wise there's not much more going on than that – it's slim but it works well enough, as this is a movie much more about the disturbing content and the gore. There are actually some really nice visuals along the way as well, but there are graphic scenes of dismemberment, torture and murder that guide us along this twisted journey. Most of the effects look good, and while the acting isn't perfect you feel each character is played to the actor's strengths to make everyone feel believable. It's a little disjointed – very possibly deliberately – and some of the bloodshed is accompanied by distorted visuals and sound to further amp up the unease factor.
Does it really live up to the hype as one of the most disturbing movies of all time? Yes and no. There are certainly moments that leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth, and some of the gore scenes are pretty imaginative, for want of a better word. However for me it didn't have the truly disturbing context of some other movies I've watched, although there would be many a viewer who would find this too much for them. I'd certainly say it's on a par with something like August Underground for shock value – and the two movies do often get compared – although would fall short of something like The Vomit Gore Trilogy. It's certainly worth a look for any serious gorehounds out there – if you can get your hands on it – as it has some interesting flourishes and certainly left me wanting to check out the rest of the trilogy.
RATING: 7/10. Not a flawless movie by any stretch – the storyline felt a bit thin and there were some scenes that fely a bit superfluous to it. With that said, the acting was generally very solid, the effects were good and there was a spark of intelligence and inventiveness in here that lifted it above many of its cohorts in the subgenre. A very good effort, and one for any serious gore fans out there rather than your 'casual' extreme viewer.