Soto’s characterisation is purely functional and his actors seem to have received little or no direction (this sometimes creates an uncanny effect, as when Jane explains the situation to her teenage children while they stare at her blankly).
Nor does the film succeed as a more abstract kind of sci-fi puzzle. There are a couple of twists, but the ending is such an anti-climax that the real mystery is how Soto and co-writer Michael White thought they could get away with it.
If The Gateway can be recommended to anyone, it’s to buffs with a cultivated taste for Z-grade, bare-bones filmmaking (the scenes in Jane’s laboratory, for instance, look as if they were shot out the back of an office supplies shop).
This is not entirely a matter of “so bad it’s good”. At their best, Soto’s stark, simplified widescreen compositions recall the great genre director John Carpenter, and there’s a minor thrill in seeing this deliberately minimal style applied to the blandness of Perth suburbia.
In his own way, it’s clear Soto cares about cinema. Where The Gateway is concerned, however, he should really look at selling the remake rights.