Friday, March 18, 2016

Movie Review #396: "The Other Side of the Door" (2016)

Movie"The Other Side of the Door"
Director: Johannes Roberts
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
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A couple, Michael (Jeremy Sisto) and Maria (Sarah Wayne Callies), who are living in India, suffer the tragic loss of one of their two children after a fatal car accident. Maria, who was driving the car, is unable to cope and becomes suicidal. However, Maria's housekeeper Piki (Suchitra Pillai) tells her of a special temple near her home village where she will be able to speak to her son again to gain closure. There is only one rule: Maria cannot open the door. Unfortunately, Maria does not heed Piki's warning and opens a gateway for her son to return and haunt their family.

Hollywood. Just stop. STOP. NOW.

Johannes Roberts' "The Other Side of the Door" is a low budget horror film that only received a limited theatrical release. This alone is not enough to dissuade us from seeing a movie. We often seek out horror films since it's one of our favorite genres, and some of the recent R-rated horror movies to receive a limited release have been pleasant surprises, offering new, well thought out psychological scares as seen in "The Witch" and "It Follows." This is not one of those movies. In fact, R-rated horror films as a whole should be angered by the fact that this film exists in the same realm as they do.

There are two huge problems with "The Other Side of the Door," and the first is its rating. There is absolutely, unequivocally, 100% no reason why this movie should be rated R. There is no bad language, no nudity, and minimal blood presence. It seems as if the filmmakers were shooting for a PG-13, but for reasons beyond our comprehension, the MPAA couldn't quite get the stick out of its ass long enough to pass this off as a PG-13. They must have seen an entirely different film because nothing here constitutes an R rating. Now, if you've read our blog before, you know we are staunch believers in the R rating, not that movies rated PG-13 are immediately worse because of their classification, but we often appreciate when films use their rating to their advantage. Being rated R hurts "The Other Side of the Door" because kids and teenagers won't be able to see it, and adults will go into it expecting a certain type of film and may be either angry or upset when they don't get it. We wouldn't lie to you. Beyond some "creepy" imagery (and we use this word loosely considering we've just about seen it all) and one specific scene at the end of the movie, nothing here is even remotely scary.

The second biggest problem is its plot and construction. This movie should have been called "Pet Semetary in India" since it's basically a blatant ripoff of the 1989 Stephen King adaptation. We understand with the sheer amount of films released every year, there is bound to be some overlap through the decades, but this goes far beyond some minor coincidental similarities. Within the context of this copycat plot, there are no interesting characters whatsoever. Every single character is one note, flat, and paper thin, and we don't care in the slightest about their lives or their plight. The acting is phoned in by both Jeremy Sisto and Sarah Wayne Callies, who act as if they are only in the film to collect a paycheck for the year. The only way "The Other Side of the Door" tries to really scare its audience is with a series of predictable, poorly timed jump scares, which have, unfortunately, become the hallmark bad horror movies. These attempts to scare the audience are never anything more than ill effective, cheap tricks to cover up its lack of good writing. Any attempt to set an unsettling tone or create creepy visuals fails on pretty much every level. Beyond all of this, we were bored the entire time. It is dull in every way imaginable. The minutes click by like hours as we sat in an empty theater waiting, wishing, hoping for something, anything interesting to happen at any point in the span of 96 minutes. Nothing interesting ever comes, ladies and gents.

"The Other Side of the Door" acts as if it's building to a big conclusion, and the end of the movie is so damn stupid. It does nothing to distinguish itself as anything other than a dollar store ripoff of a better horror movie. We have seen this movie before, and we hate leaving the movie theater feeling like we have wasted not only our money, but our precious time. We implore you, don't waste your money on this. Don't pay full price to see it in the theater, don't spend a dollar or two on a redbox rental, and don't waste your time watching on Netflix, which is where it's most likely headed in the next few weeks since nobody but us bothered to watch it in the theater.

My Rating: 1/10
BigJ's Rating: 1/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 45%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "The Interview"

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