“The Other Side of the Door” (2016, Johannes Roberts, 42, Kriti Productions, TSG Entertainment) is a British-Indian supernatural horror about a family tragedy, the powers of grief and not doing what you’re told.
Maria (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Michael (Jeremy Sisto) love their trip to India so much that they decide to stay there and start a family. They enjoy a life there for some time, until tragedy strikes and Maria is forced to choose to save one of her two children after a terrible accident. She saves her youngest child, daughter Lucy (Sofia Rosinsky) and cannot get back in time to save her eldest son, Oliver (Logan Creran).
Grief-stricken and guilt ridden, Maria is distant and suicidal. Her housekeeper, Piki (Suchitra Pillai-Malik) offers Maria a chance to speak to Oliver one last time at an abandoned temple, infamous for sitting on the line between the living and the dead. Maria leaps at the chance to tell her son how sorry she is, but she cannot resist the urge to do the one thing Piki warned her not to; she opens the door…
The premise is really good, standard horror fayre, but this film just doesn’t deliver. The styling is very J-horror and feels odd in the Indian setting. And the ‘evil’ ghost of the son is just too literal. But the main issue is just the plot-by-numbers style of storytelling and the fact that the story is based in India and features only one main Indian character.
Our protagonist, Maria, is a massive pain in the ass who’s moved to India and had children there and hasn’t bothered to learn the language, make friends and even raise her children to understand the local culture. Other than using some Hindu mythology within the story, they might as well have set this film anywhere else.
Anyway, the ghosts are fun, but the jump scares are too obvious and used over-liberally and Maria doesn’t seem to react to the ghosts in the normal way. I get thinking you have your kid back and reading him bedtime stories, but when a creepy-ass ghost creature starts following you, I doubt you’d stand there staring at it….
The film just wasn’t as refined as the story deserved and came across as a cheap knockoff J-horror rather than something new.
There were certainly good elements, but as a whole the film didn't quite hit the spot.
[Image: Kitri Productions, et al]