Other Side of the Door(2016) was written and directed by Johannes Roberts with help writing from Ernest Riera. Starring Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead), Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under), Sofia Rosinsky, Logan Creran, and Suchitra Pillai.
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. ALSO IF YOU HAVE LOST A CHILD RECENTLY DO **NOT** WATCH THIS FILM
Maria and Michael (Sarah & Jeremy) decide based off of Michael’s booming business, that their family will move to India. The culture is shown off in the film with cafe’s and tuk-tuks in the street, how crowded it is and all the beautiful people throughout this film. Other than that, this was the worse idea for the family EVER. Maria is driving home with Oliver (Logan Creran, the son) and Lucy (Sofia Rosinsky, the younger daughter) when the car goes off a bridge and starts to sink into the river it was traversing over.
This part was daunting and it was broken up throughout the film as flashbacks, but for clarity I’m beginning with it. The story is articulated perfectly gliding between the past and present, never loosing my interest.
Oliver gets his leg stuck between the seat and his car seat, while Maria tried to get him free. Without a knife it did seem nearly impossible, especially since she had Lucy in her arms already. She swims to safety with Lucy when the passersby stop her from jumping back in to save Oliver. Unfortunately Oliver drowns and when they finally free his lifeless body they drag him to the ground in which Maria refuses to leave his corpse.
I never have had a child, but I knew that if I had spawn and they died this, this scene is exactly what it would be like. The emotion from Sarah really shown through and I’ve seen The Walking Dead so this was a major surprise.
So Maria goes into full grieve mode and does the whole ignore your entire ALIVE family because of the one death, which I’ve heard happens, but in this case it seemed dramatic. Michael spends a majority of the film off screen and away from Maria giving her space after she freaks out at him for not giving her space. So the film begins to really focus on her.
Their nanny/caretaker person, Piki (Suchitra Pillai) had learned of a place in which Maria could talk to her son one last time for closure. She herself apparently had gone their for the same reason. AND like any movie with something sacred (Army of Darkness) there are rules that need to be followed precisely.
This was while Maria was in her hospital bed after her suicide attempt, that Piki tells her “take the ashes of your son and spread then on the steps, lock yourself inside and wait till dark, he will come to you.” She then repeated tells her if she does this DON’T OPEN THE DOOR, no matter what she hears.
I knew when I heard that last line, that she was too weak to listen. She would hear her son and open the door anyway. So was I surprised? No. She goes to fix her mind and promises her husband that she will come back whole. She leaves to Piki’s hometown and walks out into the forest to find this thinly veiled door to the other side (See what I did there!). She spreads Oliver’s ashes on the steps, taking a moment to accept that he is gone and then goes inside closing the door behind her. She has a couple of torches going and she waits and waits.
This was a great moment of build up that really got me interested in the film, I knew she was going to open the door, I knew she was weak and would not listen, yet this moment still had me watching.
Long story short, nightfall happens and there is some noises that happen behind the door, she finally starts talking to her son, but only for a short minute. Then the film insinuates that he is being ripped away against his will. Of course, Maria opens the door.
She runs from the place and pretends it never happened, because that always works in the films. Soon after she gets back her son comes to her in voices and then takes over the body of her daughter. The film gets real creepy quick with some scary tribal men popping up everywhere. Piki tries to help again, but this time pays the ultimate price as she is tricked into being killed by an Indian deity Myrtu guards the underworld.
The native shamans and Myrtu really put this movie over the edge and the entire film gets more and more intense as you learn that Myrtu is there to take Oliver’s soul back and to take Maria for creating the entire mess.
The very last scene is an intense fight between the shamans, Maria, and Michael. This is the moment that Michael finally seems to be clued in and that very moment is when Maria dies and Myrtu takes her soul. Lucy played by Sofia played a significant part as well, being a creepy possessed little child and causing an immense about of chaos as possessed by an malevolent Oliver.
Despite some jump scares, the makeup in this film really gave me shivers and decidedly adds to the entirety of the film. It was impassioned and it shows. The lighting, the script, the ambiance that is created, really places you in India and gives you the foreboding feeling as the pandemonium lets loose.
I have to give this film only an 8 out of 10 arms of dieties, because Sarah’s acting fell flat a couple of times (she was doing so well too) and the script was predictable in some places. But it was definitely worth watching.