Thursday, February 25, 2016



From IMDB:


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. But when she disobeys a sacred warning to never open that door, she upsets the balance between life and death. Written by 20th Century Fox
The Other Side of the Door (2016) on IMDb

From Rotten Tomatoes:

Movie Info

Rating: R (for some bloody violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Horror
Directed By: Johannes Roberts
Written By: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera
Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min.

TOMATOMETER: No Tomatometer score yet...
Average Rating: N/A | Reviews Counted: 2
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 2

WANT TO SEE 84% want to see
User Ratings: 863


So instead of seance you're supposed to travel on a train, hike through a forest, sit in an abandoned temple until nightfall to talk to your dead loved ones. Sounds like a good idea. ©20th Century Fox

Everything familiar but the location...

So another horror movie, another chance to rehash all the usual tropes in hopes that this time they'll do it differently enough that it'll be interesting. The Other Side of the Door which according to the Wikipedia entry for it is a British-Indian supernatural horror film directed by Johannes Roberts which makes this film his directorial debut for the big screen and written by Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera who also have not worked on a major release making this their first. 

Coming into this film I didn't know anything. Didn't even watch the trailer. I mean it's a horror movie, how much more different can it be, right? Anyway, the movie is pretty much explained in its entirety by that plot summary provided by 20th Century Fox up there. Basically they've given the whole thing away so don't expect to be surprised. Going in without knowing anything I wasn't surprised. 

How are things okay when you start reading to an empty room thinking that you're loved one is still there. It's okay I guess if there's an evil spirit version looking over your shoulder. ©20th Century Fox

Sarah Wayne Callies plays Maria who is married to Micheal played by Jeremy Sisto, they're a young couple who decide to plant roots in India when they find out that they're expecting. Why India? Well, Micheal is an antiques dealer and hunter and since he visits India so frequently he thinks it's a good idea. They marry have kids, two of them, Oliver (Logan Creran) and Lucy (Sofia Rosinsky). They happy as can be until while driving with the kids one day Maria has an accident and the car goes over a bridge and into a river. Faced with the decision to save either Lucy or Oliver first, she saves Lucy thinking that she can come back for Oliver. At the river bank while screaming for help and wanting to jump back into the river she gets held back by some men. 

Time passes and Maria is still grieving and can't let go. Piki (Suchitra Pillai-Malik) their housekeeper notices her grief and being a mother whom herself has lost a child decides to try and help her. Piki tells Maria about an abandoned temple in a forest near her village that rumour has it is a place where the border between life and death is thin. She tells Maria that if she goes there with Oliver's ashes, place his ashes on the steps of the temple's stairs and locks herself in the temple and wait till nightfall that that night Oliver might come to her. Once he appears she can say her goodbyes and hopefully then she can move on. Piki then tells her that under no circumstance should she open the door until the sun has risen. So of course Maria goes to the temple, Maria who is given verbal and written instructions, Maria who speaks little to no Hindi after of course desecrating her child's grave in order to exhume Oliver's body to cremate it. 

Sibling love. ©20th Century Fox

As you can expect things go as planned at the temple, she does as instructed and waits till night. Night comes and she hears sounds and goes to check it out and we get to explore the temple. Her explorations introduce her and us to a multi-limbed idol that scares her. She runs back up to continue her wait and that's when she hears Oliver. She says her goodbyes and tells him she loves him but before she can really let go Oliver tells her he has to go. Not able to let go she pleads for him to stay a little longer but he can't. Unable to hold back any longer she does the one thing that Piki told her not to, she opens the door. On the other side dawn is barely breaking but she finds nothing, no one. She screams for Oliver and looks for him but nothing. It takes her awhile to notice that she's not exactly alone. A man stands in the distance, an Indian man. He is an ascetic Shaiva sadhus called an Aghori. Aghori are known to engage in post-mortem rituals, sometimes involving cannibalism or necrophilia. They're a fascinating cult and you can read more about them here.

The Aghori are everywhere. ©20th Century Fox

So thinking that that's that she goes home feeling a little bit better and things seem to be fine. The first to notice something different is Lucy who finds Oliver's old stuffed tiger toy Khan at the top of the stairs that lead to Oliver's room. Then Maria notices things too and she believes that Oliver has returned home and even begins to read the book that they were reading when the accident happens. The book title? The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. At first Oliver's activities seem to be innocent but then they don't. It's the usual increase in activity that begin to seem angry, then the creepy feeling, shadow/silhouettes start popping up, things moving on their own, jump scares and bad dreams. The usual horror tropes. 

As things escalate Piki finally decides to speak to Maria, she berates her for not doing as instructed. She tells her that by opening the door she's doomed Oliver to wandering the living realm which will only turn him evil. She also tells Maria that now she's invited Myrtu an evil spirit in charge of taking back Oliver. Myrtu will stop at nothing to reclaim Oliver. 

So what do you think happens here? ©20th Century Fox

So was this a fun movie?

To be honest, no. It's pretty much an average horror movie. As I mentioned all the tropes are there the only thing refreshing being that the story is located in India and they're using the elements of that culture to make things interesting. And it does make it a little interesting. The story is straightforward and you have to be a little forgiving in certain parts to accept the story as it is but it isn't a total let down. It is if you are expecting this to be a good movie. The scares are there and it works I guess. 

The performances by the leads are okay and the kids do pretty good too. The only thing is that this being a movie set in India the only actor of Indian descent in the movie is Piki and the only reason she's there is to introduce Maria to the temple and then later when things go back to scold her for not doing as she's told. Then she dies. In between those two scenes she pops up to take Lucy or the dog away for snacks. The only other Indians you see are the men who play the Aghori and all they do is stand stare and point. The only things you notice about India other than Piki and the Aghori is that the trains are usually packed, the streets are narrow and that's pretty much it. This movie might as well have been made in Hollywood. 

So the bad thing that she wants to get rid of isn't the horrible thing that's behind here. That horrible thing is just doing it's thing. ©20th Century Fox

I'm not saying this is bad movie, it's an okay watch but they could have probably done a better job. This movie basically fails the same way that The Forest did, they place it in a foreign culture and instead of using not only the elements of that culture and the people from that culture to make it interesting they play it safe by casting an all white cast and assume that the audience would find this a better watch. The only thing this movie did better than The Forest is that at the very least it didn't take a place that depressed and lonely individuals go to to take their own lives to turn it into a horror film. Maybe they'll tick off the Aghoris or those who would find fault with them for making up a demon gatekeeper but I'm guessing that won't happen. 

So basically I'm saying that this is an average horror movie. It has it's moments if you're not expecting it. The cultural elements make it somewhat interesting. The acting is decent. So I'm going to give this movie a 3 out of 5 but only because it was interesting because it's situated somewhere different. Go if you're a horror fan for some scares, go if you've got nothing else to see. 

Here's the trailer.



Post a Comment