Directed by: Gregg Hale, Liam O’Donnell, Eduardo Sánchez and Timo Tjahjanto
Run time: 85 minutes
The Lowdown: Have you ever seen a trailer for a new movie and just become obsessed?
Like, it didn’t matter what kind of Heaven and earth you had to move, you just wanted to see that movie regardless of the effort it took.
And, then, finally, when you do get to secure a viewing, you discover that the actual movie from the exceptional trailer that mesmerized you isn’t quite as amazing as you expected.
That’s Portals, in a nutshell, which is a highly ambitious slice of science fiction, broken into four separate short films, some of which live up to the trailer’s promise and some of which fall short.
Portals is set in the not-so-distant future of August 2020 when scientists finally crack the code for creating the world’s first manmade black hole. Minutes later, the globe blacks out, people start disappearing and all kinds of crazy hell breaks loose.
The big draw for the film likely is Eduardo Sánchez, one half of the creative team that delivered The Blair Witch Project, and his segment, set inside a 9-1-1 call center once monolithic portals begin appearing all over the world, is taunt and bloody.
But the two best segments hail from Liam O’Donnell (Beyond Skyline), whose “The Other Side” follows a father trying to reunite with his family after successfully passing through a portal and not dying, and Timo Tjahjanto (Killers, Headshot), whose segment “Sarah,” which is set in Jakarta, represents the artistic peak of the film.
Tjahjanto plays to his strength, which is staging impressive fight choreography, while showing how the strange appearance of the portals impacts two sisters, Sarah and Jill, as they find themselves hunted by a group of people that seem to have been zombified by the monolith.
Portals is frustrating because you want it to be better overall. You want each of the four stories to resonate more deeply. You want more answers. And you need some sense of closure or resolution, which never comes.
This is a decent film that should have been a knockout, a recommended rental that could have been an immediate cult classic.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Minimal.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Beware the portals.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
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