Review: ‘PORTALS’ is basically a genre-bending mindf*ck.

On August 5th 2020, an undisclosed research facility successfully creates the world’s first active black hole…Shortly after a cosmic disruption occurs triggering a series of world-wide blackouts; after which millions of mysterious, reality-altering, Portal-like anomalies appear everywhere and anywhere across the planet. While many flee from the sentient objects, the real terror sets in as people are drawn toward and into them.

 

Portals is a genre-bending anthology featuring three internationally connected stories told from four visionary filmmakers’ perspectives as the cosmic events unfold within the first few days. The action quickly kicks off with our wrap-around story following Adam and his family on their way to his mother-in-law’s house during the blackouts and reports of missing persons..during the road trip their SUV barrels directly into an Anomaly that suddenly appears in the middle of a desolate road. He later wakes up in a mysterious hospital suffering from optic nerve damage and is given an experimental eye transplant that links itself directly to the anomalies. With a determination to be reunited with his family; Adam soon discovers the hospital has cosmic secrets of its own.

Incredibly effective CG mixed with a mass hysteria mystery makes Portals beyond entertaining. The film’s pace makes you uneasy immediately. It’s quite impressive. The play on parental emotions and survival instinct keeps you on the edge. I NEEDED to know how this was all going to play out. The cast is magnificent. The multiple narrative styles fit perfectly into this genre-bending film. While the third selection between two sisters feels a bit too long, it shifts the genre dynamic. To what? I’m not quite sure, but it still has me invested because it is moving the plot forward. The physical portals themselves look like massive, high tech flat-screen televisions. The digital effects they utilize on the screens are cool and you learn very quickly somehow connected to the story. As the plot twists and turns, Portals has an almost dizzying effect. It would be a phenomenal miniseries. It’s a lot of information to explore in a single film. I try to go into a film without reading much about it first. Once I realized that this was actually an anthology, I was all the more impressed. The quality of writing flows through each separate selection as does production for continuity, obviously. But I was blown away by the risks these writers and directors took to feature different perspectives in the same way individuals having “the same experience” internationally. When all is said and done, Portals begs for a sequel. If not, then an entire series. There is a ton of story left to tell and I am here for it all.

In Theaters and On Demand October 25

Directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Exists)Gregg Hale (V/H/S 2), Timo Tjahjanto (The Night Comes For Us, Headshot), and Liam O’Donnell (Beyond Skyline)

Starring Neil Hopkins (“Lost”), Deanna Russo (Burning Love, Knight Rider), Gretchen Lodge (Lovely Molly), Natacha Gott (After the Dark), Phet Mahathongdy (Skyline), Ptolemy Slocum (“Westworld”), and Salvita Decorte (The Night Comes For Us)

Produced by Brad Miska and creator Chris White alongside BoulderLight Pictures’ J.D. Lifshitz and Raphael Margules, and Pigrat Productions’ Alyssa and Griffin Devine

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.