Saturday 27 February 2016

The Other Side of the Door ... Slammed shut

I NEVER though I'd yawn so much watching a horror film, but I did just that viewing director Johannes Roberts's The Other Side of the Door, about a white middle-class American family in India dealing with the loss of their infant son.
  India may seem like an exotic location for the filmmakers and the family in question, but Hollywood horror tropes abound in this film, from creaking doors and high-strung music to decaying corpses playing in the rain.

   The film is also prone to sudden movements to scare the bejeseus out of viewers.
   Michael and Maria (Jeremy Sisto and Sarah Wayne Callies) have been in India for six years, but tragedy has befallen them as one of their two young kids, Oliver, died in a crash.
   Although antiques dealer Michael doesn't blame her for the crash (she was in the car with the two kids when it happened), Maria is saddled with guilt and things are not smooth at home.
   Their saree-dressed Indian maid Piki (Suchitra Pillai), who herself lost her daughter, tells Maria about this salve for broken hearts: she should go to this abandoned temple and scatter the ashes of her son on the temple steps, but she should never open the door despite the pleas of the dead.
The horror of watching this horror flick.
   Viewers will empathise with Maria and the lengths she goes to see her son for one final time.
  It's only when she returns home that the problems happen.
   Firstly, which husband would close one eye to his wife disappearing for a few days and not informing him about her whereabouts? Also, how could she so easily brush aside his protestations when she gets back?
   Funny things now happen in the house, such as fish in the pond dying and plants in the huge garden ossifying.
  It gets even weirder when Maria asks her daughter not to tell Michael about Oliver's deadly presence. Again, which wife would hide information like this from her husband?
  Maria learns never to mess with the dead, and that the child she loved may be a murderous demon. For a mum, that's the biggest horror.

1 out of five stars




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