For about 15 minutes, Johannes Roberts’ (F, Storage 24) India-set horror flick has the makings of a restrained genre yarn that defies the expectations of its generic title…but then the rest of the movie happens.
After Maria (Sarah Wayne Callies) and her husband Michael (Jeremy Sisto) suffer the loss of their young son in a car accident, Maria struggles to move on, and in an attempt to say one last goodbye to him, opens a door between this world and the afterlife, unleashing a malevolent supernatural presence upon Earth.
The opening flashback sequence of this movie, in which Maria’s son drowns, is so brilliantly discomforting that it built a mood that the rest of the film sadly couldn’t even begin to live up to.
Though much of the film hews away from overt jump scares, the “quiet suspense” as some might call it is more ennui-inducing than interesting, essentially causing the film to appear to transpire within a tension vacuum, free of intrigue, scare value or any generally entertaining quality. It’s frustrating because Callies in particular gives a strong central performance as the grieving mother, and Roberts’ slow, steady camera control often gives the film a patient, art-house feel.
Sadly, though, the longer the film wears on, the more the horror cliches are piled up; there are obnoxious jump scares, hilariously creepy children, silly supernatural baddies and a ludicrous twist ending that’s neither surprising nor satisfying.
While the unique setting is welcome and it at least dares to be different to a point, The Other Side of the Door is nevertheless mostly beholden to the dusty, tired tropes that most horror fans have been long fed up of. There’s a much, much better film that someone could have made with the bones of this script – especially considering the solid grief psychology on display – but instead, Roberts has settled for staid formula.
The Other Side of the Door is in cinemas now