Review: The Other Side Of The Door

A family lives an idyllic existence abroad until a tragic accident takes the life of their young son. The inconsolable mother learns of an ancient ritual that will bring him back to say a final goodbye. She travels to an ancient temple, where a door serves as a mysterious portal between two worlds.

High hopes were had for this film, given that I was a big fan of F (awesome hoodie horror, in case you haven’t seen it), and to say I was let down was an understatement, with the best bits of the film being used in the trailer. What started as promising quickly decends into the absurd.
After Maria loses her son in a car accident she, quite understandably, seems unable to move on past the grief, much to the concern of her husband, Michael. Conveniently approached Suchitra, an apparent pro in indian voodoo, Maria is offered a way to reach out to her deceased son, but will she break the rules set by Suchitra? Yes. Yes she does. In poor style. This film was very much not for me, but I’ll always have respect for people who get out their and make a film, no matter whether I enjoy it or not. Characters we’ve seen a hundred times before, wooden acting, and a storyline so full of holes I was spotting moles strecthed out over one and a half hours. Cheap jump scares and scenarios so unbelieveable I gave up thirty minutes in. It angered me how much I disliked this film, the beautiful scenery was nowhere near used to it’s full advantage either. Angry at the story, angry at the characters logic and angry that I’d be in suckered in yet again with a raging bore fest. The only saving grace was the little girl playing Lucy – cute as a button.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about this review all day, and I figured something out. I’m not mad at the film as such, I’m mad that this type of carbon copied horror gets made again and again, yet genuiely scary films get left behind a lot of the time. I don’t believe that my horror backgroud has influence in this, I just believe that we need to be getting much better things shown. We get taglines thrown at us like ‘scariest film of the year’ ‘will haunt your dreams’ ‘you’ll never sleep again’ and it’s just lies! LIES! We need more Creeps, Invitations, Marrows – new, original, creepy horror! I’m sorry to rant, I really am, because I like Johannes Roberts, he’s done good films, this just sadly wasn’t one of them.
Rather than seeing what The Other Side Of The Door has to offer, why not stay on the inside of your living room door and just not bother.

This India set supernatural horror on paper has a lot going for it. A tragedy that leads to the death of a child that the mother is given the opportunity to say goodbye to her deceased son but of course has to follow the rules. The rules in this case relating to a disembodied door within an ancient ruined temple where the mother can speak to her son but must absolutely, under no circumstances, however much the deceased pleads and begs, open the door. Cue door opening.

The dead, mostly invisible child returns to the family home and his mood and general demeanour starts bad and rapidly moves to deadly. But the demon child is not alone, the protectors that guard the crossing points between this world and the next are in pursuit including an ancient impressively scary looking guardian. As I said, on paper it’s all there. Unfortunately I didn’t watch it on paper.

British writer/director Johannes Roberts offers up a scenario that is refreshingly different, with a Western family living in India and an attempt at introducing some local legends and folklore. The problems really start from the point when the mother travels to the afore mentioned door. To be honest my issue with this key moment isn’t so much that the mother didn’t adhere to the rule of not opening the door. It was more that I did not believe that she would want to speak to her dead son with no chance of getting him back. I just didn’t feel it.

From that point forward the film quickly became bogged down with poorly defined unclear threats. Was the .monster. Supposed to be the dead boys malevolent ghost? The seemingly teleport enhanced aborigine lookalike ‘ watchers who follow the family from that point on? Or the old had creature that guards between the realms? Whether the director or the studio, someone, somewhere clearly wasn’t at all sure. That makes two of us. The big bad creature is sparingly used which isn’t bad, but since she/it is only interested in returning the dead boys soul back to the afterlife, and by now he’s become pretty dangerous, so good riddance, she isn’t any threat to the surviving family members. The low rent mystic men randomly appear and disappear but don’t seem to be able to do anything beyond teleport to directly behind someone, so there are no real chills to be had there. Only the ghost of the son seems to endanger the rest of the family but never consistently enough to really engage the audience.

Ultimately this just doesn’t work. The tragedy of loosing a child never feels believable and without a real identifiable threat I’m afraid it soon became a watch glancing exercise. This is another of the growing number of recent films where the script let down some wonderful looking cinematography with a fresh intriguing premise in an exotic location. Such a waste.

I like to think as a reviewer that there is a purpose such as saving you time and money, things that could be better spent rather than watching such dross as THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR; a film as bad as its title may imply. No in fact I withdraw that, it’s worse.

So we have nice likeable couple who had two kids and now they have one after the mother drove into a river and one child couldn’t be saved. Cue lots of grieving and sadness and at this point it is probably the only time in this movie I found myself giving a shit. Yeah it’s sad, yes it’s traumatic, and yes a grieving heartbroken mother would do anything to get her child back and thus is the story behind TOSOTD. After being advised that if she goes to this spooky abandoned temple in the middle of nowhere she will be able to make contact with her dead child once more but under no circumstances must she open the door or else a tedious and plodding generic horror movie will unfold in front of her eyes (and ours). And guess what she does?

From this point it all goes downhill, the two things I liked (the family grief and the spooky temple) soon get forgotten about in the mire of tedium and seen-it-all-beforeness that truly ruins this film. There are no scares, it drags out and you just stop caring and even when spooky stuff happens in the family home it just doesn’t capture you unless a few dead trees and a drowned maid mean I am supposed to sit there filled with fear.

By the end it just stops making sense, who is the evil one. Is it the demon that has been released or is it the reincarnated child? Who bloody cares?

I get so angry as stuff like this sees a cinema release yet blindingly good films just get forgotten about so please do us all a favour and boycott this 15 rated (even that’s a push) turgid mess of a film and watch something else instead. I think you will feel more scared by GOOSEBUMPS.

One to avoid

The Other Side Of The Door is out at UK cinemas 4th March 2016  




85 thoughts on “Review: The Other Side Of The Door

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