02nd Dec2021

‘Portal Runner’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Sloane Morgan Siegel, Elise Eberle, Brian S. Lewis, Denny McAuliffe, Shaunyce Omar, Carol Roscoe, Matt Shimkus, Roy Luke | Written by J.D. Henning, Tallis Moore | Directed by Cornelia Duryée

Jumping straight into the action from the first second, Portal Runner introduces us to a 15 year old boy, Nolan, who has the ability to travel through parallel worlds with the use of mirrors. Unfortunately for him, there is an evil being chasing through these worlds, and when he gets stuck in a world with a sister he has never met, he must convince her to help him and the rest of their family.

There have obviously been sci-fi movies that involve travelling through parallel worlds and universes but I can’t say I have personally seen that many of them and maybe that’s part of the reason that Portal Runner felt highly original to me. I have said previously that I enjoy low budget sci-fi movies just as much as the ones with huge budgets. They always seem to come up with interesting ideas and characters, so much so that the fact that they are much less polished than movies that cost millions, doesn’t matter at all. And I think that’s the case with Portal Runner.

There may be a few holes in it script if you really wanted to try and pick it apart, but with something like parallel worlds, it’s something you can get away with and play with different ideas. The use of mirrors or reflective surfaces to use as portals works well and adds plenty of tension to many scenes as they scrambled to find them. The choice that the portals will only work when someone is upset or annoyed didn’t quite work as well.

At a little over seventy minutes perhaps what Portal Runner does best is always feel like it’s ‘on-the-go’. It’s not exactly action-packed but you always have the sense that Nolan is being chased, there’s always the feeling that he’s on the run and that works extremely well. What helps with this is having a pretty cool-looking villain. Not particularly original – it’s basically a kind of burnt looking man all in black with a black hood – but it honestly looks good. Menacing and occasionally scary, more than enough for a sci-fi thriller.

Although it occasionally feels like it is repeating itself, there are times when the score is spot-on with the tension.

It came as no surprise when I checked IMDb and discovered the two young lead actors were well experienced for their ages. At only 21, Sloane Morgan Siegel has 42 film and TV credits to his name and he’s very likeable as the 15 year old Nolan. He has a way of coming across very natural in every scene he is and he and Elise Eberle as his sister Mae, show plenty of chemistry. She is no stranger to featuring in big shows (Salem and Shameless) and she does just as brilliantly in this low budget affair.

With its short run time and fresh science fiction ideas, there’s no reason not to recommend Portal Runner to any movie fan, while obviously sci-fi lovers will get the most enjoyment from it.

*** 3/5

Portal Runner will be available on digital on Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Kings of Horror, TubiTV, Roku, Film Freaks, Microsoft Movies & TV and Jungo+ from December 10th, courtesy of Kairos Productions and Terror Films.


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