Cemetery Gates is set in Los Angeles where two dumb environmentalists named Alex (Stephen Van Dorn) & Ben (Greg McDonald) break into a top secret research laboratory where they find a large crate with some sort of animal inside that they feel compelled to release into the wild rather than let it be experimented on. Unfortunately the animal inside the crate turns out to be a seven foot tall mutated Tasmanian Devil named Precious that likes to kill & eat people & now it's loose in a national park. Student amateur filmmaker Hunter Belmont (Peter Stickles) & some of his buddies drive out to an old cemetery where he intends to shoot some of his low budget zombie horror film 'The Cemetery Gates' but the filmmakers soon find themselves under attack from the mutated creature...
Directed by Roy Knyrim this is a fairly decent if unspectacular 'Creature Feature' with slightly more gore than one might expect, if nothing else it's probably better than the majority of the 'Creature Feature' turds that the Sci-Fi Channel show at least. The film is maybe best described as a creature feature mixed with a little teen slasher as the first hour or so of Cemetery Gates consists of various teens being introduced & then killed off by the creature, every excuse is here from people needing to pee to cars breaking down to same random woman on a push bike who all get introduced then killed off within minutes. The main character's are a bit dull except fro blonde bimbo August who gets a few amusing lines, looks good & gets her breasts out a couple of times. The story behind the mutated Tasmanian Devil is poor with vague explanations about trying to reproduce it's immune system or something like that & if I was an animal activist I think I would actually take a look inside the crate to see what was making those loud roaring noises before trying to release it into the wild, you know what I mean? To be fair to Cemtery Gates it never tries to be anything other than a fun 'Creature Feature' with a fast pace & plenty of gory kills but it's nothing new, it's predictable & does get repetitive. It's watchable enough thanks to a fair amount of blood & some nudity but I will have probably forgotten all about it by the end of the week.
The highlight of Cemtery gates has to be the blood & gore set-pieces with ripped out spines, torn off limbs, mutilated bodies, decapitations, bit throats, squashed heads, people bitten in half & lots of spurting blood. The creature itself looks poor as it's obviously just some guy in a suit, it's eyes & mouth never move & you can tell it's just a static face mask. There's some very poor physics going on at the end as various people fall down holes & then manage to climb back out again, these scenes don't really work & when the climax in the dark tunnels come & the filmmakers actually try to generate tension it falls apart with bad effects & annoying character's who make stupid decisions, the film works much batter as an out & out splatter gore 'Creature Feature'.
With a supposed budget of close to a million Cemtery gates looks alright for a low budget horror, it's professionally made at least even if it does look a little made for telly-ish. Special make-up effects guys Greg Nicotero & Howard Berger makes cameos while a balding & fat Reggie Bannister of Phantasm (1979) & sequels 'fame' turns up here sporting a ridiculous pony tail.
Cemetery Gates is a decent enough 'Creature Feature' that spends most of it's time killing off insignificant character's in gory ways & there's nothing wrong with that I say but it does get repetitive & a poor looking creature doesn't help credibility. Not too bad but not that great either, watchable if nothing else.
Review by Paul Andrews from the Internet Movie Database.