• Andrew

The Gateway - Short Horror / Supernatural Thriller

Charlie Charlie Productions presents "The Gateway". The Gateway is an exciting 10 minute short horror / supernatural thriller. Written and produced by one of the stars - Charles Chudabala.

What is the movie about:

The Gateway introduces two friends Cruz (Charles Chudabala) and Jess (Jennifer Nangle) dabbling with a tarot card reading session in an apartment late one night. The pair are presented as opposites, but firm friends. Cruz is receiving a reading from Jess looking for the eternal answers and hints as to his future, loves and losses. It isn't long until things start to take a sinister turn for pair.


Without wanting to spoil every minute of this short film, the movie transcends past stereo typical movie patterns. The audience enter into a surreal and evolving world of grief as Jess descends into a state of despair and chaos.


What I love about this short is that not everything is given to you. You are presented with the fact that Cruz has died. But the audience are not given any specifics, you are given enough to feel on edge that his best friend Jess may or may not of had a part to play in it. Whether that part is direct or indirect is a conclusion you have to make. The film enters into a nightmarish cycle of Jess being haunted by the the memory of her friend with vivid graphic horrific sequences presented as hauntings that are either Cruz himself from beyond the grave or Jess's mind imposing these visions on herself.

My personal take-away was that Cruz and Jess both had an intense co-dependant relationship and following Cruz's passing (by whatever means) left Jess in a state of despair and grief. Those closest to Jess have reached out but Jess remains trapped in her co-dependency and her fractured mind is building her own reality and at times the nightmare of her true reality flickers in with exaggerated horrors.

Stylistically this movie has some lovely visuals. There is attention paid to lighting and scene setting. This movie takes places in one apartment, but I was left feeling the creative team made the most out of every bit of space. One moment in particular for me managed to build a MASSIVE amount of tension involving Cruz sitting on the floor with his back to the audience. It is framed and lighted perfectly to create a bemusing and 'WTF' moment for the audience.

Story wise this short (as I mentioned before) doesn't give it's audience an easy ride. I mean that as a positive. I think many short films fall into a trap of trying hard to squeeze everything into a dramatically reduced runtime and it feels rushed or heavy on dialogue to give the audience everything. The Gateway doesn't do this. It presents you with a moment. A dark and twisted moment in Jess's life. Giving you hints of the past and what has lead to this moment but leaves the audience with plenty of questions and conversation to build their own opinions / conclusions.

This 10-minute short manages to give it's audience a brilliantly composed score from Bryson Taylor. This score is somewhat understated during the first half of the film, but builds and builds to layer intensity, fear and insanity throughout the remainder.

Acting: Charles Chudabala is a big name in the indie scene and is building a strong reputation for being an amazing performer on screen. It is interesting to see such range from Charles in such a short amount of time. Charles manages to put audiences at ease as the fun loving, kind best friend as the movie opens before jumping to being terrifying, terrified and full of sadness. This short is a real testament to the acting skills of Charles. Jennifer Nangle also manages to give a brilliantly on point performance as Jess. Jennifer manages to swap from being the slight bashful outspoken friend to terrified, potential victim to potential evil. There is a subtle vulnerability that plays through Jess's character and your left to feel compassion towards her due to her experiences in this film and empathy for her loss and mental state (with a slight niggle in my mind she played a part in Cruz's death - I must ask the writer) . Much like Charles performance this is a lot to get through and put out on screen in such a short time and should be applauded.

The Awards:

Winner of Best Character: Jess (Jennifer Nangle)

Winner of Best Acting: Charles Chudabala & Jennifer Nangle [BOTH SUPERB]

Best Moment: Cruz's back to the audience with a knife!


Written and Directed by: Charles Chudabala (Starring: Jennifer Nangle and Charles Chudabala) DP: Richard Aguirre; Sound: Hector Arias Franco; Composer: Bryson Taylor

Watch the full short film here:

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