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The supernatural horror that's dominating Netflix right now

It seems people streaming movies in 2020 are getting their entertainment (and maybe a little catharsis, too) by way of horror movies. As proof, we present a 2018 sub-genre-defying horror film that recently found its way to the eighth spot on the Netflix U.S. Top Ten list. The movie in question is Devil's Gate, and whether viewers giving it a chance consciously realize it or not, there are a lot of subtle reasons to be drawn to it.

Let's talk about the film first. Devil's Gate starts out as a mystery movie with an FBI Agent, Daria Francis (Amanda Schull), pulled into a small-town police investigation. Maria Pritchard (Bridget Regan) and her son Jonah (Spencer Drever) have gone missing, and Francis suspects husband and father Jackson Pritchard (Milo Ventimiglia) is behind it all. When Francis and Deputy Colt Salter (Shawn Ashmore) go to the Pritchard farm, however, they discover something a lot more complicated than a missing persons case.

One thing that makes Devil's Gate interesting is that there's a metatextual mystery happening in it, as well — namely, the question of what kind of supernatural entity we're dealing with here. There's a lot of Bible talk from Jackson and the name of the movie is Devil's Gate, so the natural conclusion is that we're going to see angels and demons. Instead, however, (spoilers) Devil's Gate isn't about Heaven and Hell in the Biblical sense, but the literal heavens above Earth — because the movie is about aliens.

People didn't dig Devil's Gate when it first debuted

It's interesting that Devil's Gate is dominating Netflix at the moment considering it did the exact opposite when it hit theaters in January 2018. Neither fans nor everyday moviegoers were all that keen on the film, which has pinned to it some unimpressive critical and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Some didn't enjoy the way in which Devil's Gate handled its many moving parts, while others were left wanting more from each character. 

As time as gone on, however, viewers have warmed to Devil's Gate. In an October 2019 review of the film, Joey Keogh of Wicked Horror praised Devil's Gate as a captivating powerhouse of a horror flick.  She wrote in part, "With a title like Devil's Gate, we pretty much know exactly what we're in for, right? Except this juicy little kitchen sink thriller is precisely not what you, I, or anyone else is expecting. Kicking things off with a killer cold open involving Saw-like traps surrounding an isolated farmhouse, it wrong-foots the audience from the outset. And things only get murkier from there. [...] Character driven, creepy and loaded with legitimately puzzling twists and turns, it's one of the strongest offerings in its sub-genre in years."

Clearly, with Devil's Gate having creeped its way onto the Netflix Top Ten list, public perception of the film has only continued to shift to the side of positivity.

Devil's Gate stars a lot of sci-fi stars you know and love

Milo Ventimiglia is a big star because of the immensely popular series This is Us, but it's important to remember in the context of Devil's Gate that one of Ventimiglia's earliest major roles was as Peter Petrelli on the superhero series Heroes. Something you'll notice about Devil's Gate is that it has a star-studded cast if you are really into science fiction specifically.

Agent Daria Francis (Amanda Schull) is someone SYFY watchers will instantly recognize as Dr. Cassandra Railly from the TV adaptation of 12 Monkeys. Shawn Ashmore plays Colt in Devil's Gate, but most comic book movie fans know him better as Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, from the original X-Men movie trilogy. Bridget Regan is Maria Pritchard in Devil's Gate, but she probably looks familiar to you because she was also HYDRA agent Dottie Underwood on ABC's Marvel series Agent Carter. Heck, Star Trek: The Next Generation's own first officer, Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) plays the small-town sheriff in Devil's Gate. We're talking about a who's who for nerds for this movie's cast.

One other thing of note: If you noticed that Devil's Gate looks really cinematic for an independent horror film, that's because it's writer-director Clay Staub is a long-time cohort of Zack Snyder. Staub has been a second unit director for Snyder as far back as the Dawn of the Dead remake in 2004 and, more importantly, did some work on the upcoming Zack Snyder cut of Justice League.

With all of that in mind, it's no wonder people are flocking to Devil's Gate, even if they don't realize why they're doing it! Devil's Gate is streaming on Netflix now.