Portals – USA, 2019 – reviews

 

Portals is a 2019 American science-fiction horror anthology feature film about a series of worldwide blackouts and cosmic anomalies.

The anthology includes segments directed by Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly, Exists), Gregg Hale (V/H/S/2), Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre, Headshot, May the Devil Take You, V/H/S/2, The Night Comes For Us) and Liam O’Donnell (Beyond Skyline). Brad Miska, J.D. Lifshitz, Raphael Margules, Alyssa Devine, and Griffin Devine produced.

The movie stars Neil Hopkins, Deanna Russo, Gretchen Lodge (Lovely Molly), Natacha Gott (After the Night), Phet Mahathongdy (Skyline), Ptolemy Slocum (Westworld) and Salvita Decorte (The Night Comes for Us).

Plot:

Set around a series of worldwide blackouts — after which millions of mysterious cosmic anomalies appear everywhere across the planet. While many flee from the sentient objects, some people are drawn toward — and into — them with horrifying consequences.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The good thing about horror anthologies is there is extra wiggle room. A weak segment can be covered by one or two better ones. Regrettably, Portals is unable to paper over its weaknesses. Mundane segments relegate this sci-fi horror to being barely adequate.” Adventures in Poor Taste

“The plot of Portals isn’t too hard to follow, but it leaves a lot of questions, as scientists in the film keep saying “we don’t know what this is”. Well, if they don’t, how should we? […] Portals isn’t boring, but the ending of the film leaves you with a sour taste in the mouth.” BZ Film

“Gorehounds will be happy with exploding heads, face-melting and eye-gouging effects. The portals themselves are nicely done, even if they do look like giant cell phones. They convey an overt sense of menace, although I think the movie might have worked better if the intentions of the portals had been less discernible.” Cinema 365

“The major artistic question regarding the film is whether these differences are enough for Portals to stand by itself as an impressive work of cinema. The acting is universally competent and the writing avoids cliché. Nevertheless, I don’t think it quite makes the powerful statement it could have made because we fail to see fleshed-out, individuated characters.” Critical Movie Critics

“Whether the script, budget, or both needed more meat, the anthology feels shortchanged, like it hurried in front of the camera before it was fully dressed. As an unsurprising result, the movie misses out on satisfying stings that would make viewers salivate for more, which is too bad since the core concept possesses more imaginative potential.” Culture Crypt

“The first wraparound with mockumentary style interviews was lame, and the other segments fell mostly flat, with no real scares to be had. Maybe, with one more strong segment taking a deeper dive into these portals, it might have worked better, but as is, it’s a disappointment.” Film Pulse 

“I love the concept of Portals. The very premise of these portals showing up and having an immediate attraction (and even communication) with some people, while others are standing back in fear, is fascinating to me. I just never felt the story really came together for me.” Heaven of Horror

“None of this, frankly, makes an iota of sense, even in suspend-your-disbelief terms, with the result that Portals is much more frustrating than chilling. Thanks to the efforts of the talented filmmakers and the committed performances by the all-in cast, there are some undeniably spooky moments. But you have to sit through an awful lot of tedium to get to them.” The Hollywood Reporter

“Not at all your standard horror/sci-fi, it bastardizes elements of both to give a horrifying plausible on the “be careful what you dabble in” story archetype. In other words, don’t miss it.” Horror DNA

“It presents a vision of planetary disaster that ought to make physicist and astronomers think twice about creating black holes. It is scary in the regular genre sense but also scary in speculative fiction kind of way. Very highly recommended…” J.B. Spins

“As with all anthologies, it’s invariably a mixed bag. And in the end, we’re often left wishing we’d walked away with just a little more than we got. While that might be close to the case here it is entirely refreshing to see a group of veterans stepping out from the catacombs of the supernatural in favor of science fiction.” Killer Horror Critic

“It is difficult to believe that an actual first encounter with interdimensional beings would be such a complete waste of time.” The New York Times

” …with the exception of the call center sequence […] the tales are imaginative and/or grotesque enough to maintain genuine interest. And the whole thing moves with a commendable briskness […] I wish Portals was better, but I also have to acknowledge it as un vrai horror film.” RogerEbert.com

Background:

Creator and producer Chris White commented:

“With our collective love for horror anthologies, we wanted to challenge ourselves and do something new, unique and more cosmic from what’s already been done previously in this space. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by what Portals is offering especially with our line up of seriously kick-ass filmmakers involved. Get ready for an awesome ride!”

Release:

The world premiere of Portals was at Beyond Fest on October 4, 2019. The movie will have limited theatrical dates and hit VOD platforms via Screen Media Films on October 25, 2019.

Cast and characters:

  • Deanna Russo … Leslie
  • Neil Hopkins … Adam
  • Michele Weaver … Frantic Caller
  • Ptolemy Slocum … Doctor Markonen
  • Clint Jung … The Chief
  • Paul McCarthy-Boyington … Stan
  • Gretchen Lodge … Dory
  • Salvita Decorte … Sarah
  • Keith Hudson … Larry
  • Shellye Broughton … Miss Kathy
  • Natasha Gott … Jill
  • Danielle Lewis … Tonya
  • Georgina Blackledge … Anna Renee
  • Phet Mahathongdy … Andrea
  • Albert A. Vega … Swat Team Leader

Production companies:

  • Bloody Disgusting
  • BoulderLight Pictures
  • PigRat Productions

This movie should not be confused with Portal (2019).

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