The Other Side of the Door (3 stars)

The Other Side of the Door

Creepy horror with affecting performances from Sarah Wayne Callies and Jeremy Sisto

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is an obvious influence for British director Johannes Roberts’ latest genre film, in so much as it plays with the idea of reanimation from beyond and the psychological turmoil involved in holding on to something that you love no matter what the consequences. Though the setting of India and rifling through aspects of Hinduism sets it apart, it doesn’t exactly utilise these elements in the most sensitive way making it feel a tad exploitative.

Maria (an intense Sarah Wayne Callies, from The Walking Dead) is finding it difficult to move on after the death of her son in a tragic car accident, so when she’s given the chance to reconnect one last time, by visiting a haunted temple and taking part in a ritual, she goes for it. But, by refusing to follow the advice of her housekeeper Piki (Suchitra Pillai-Malik) and opening the door when the ghost of her son appears, she awakens an evil spirit who comes to wreak havoc on her family home and terrorise her daughter Lucy (Sofia Rosinsky).

Callies and Jeremy Sisto (playing her husband Michael) turn in affecting performances that lift this by-the-numbers horror up a notch. The use of the exterior of a colonial house that recalls The Amityville Horror and is also Rudyard Kipling’s birthplace sets an eerie tone, as does the effective employment of angular and creaky interiors around which Lucy patters playing with the toys of her departed brother. It also features a hideous creature whose long, crooked fingers envelop its face, and there are jump scares aplenty, with Roberts biding his time when building suspense. Though you may exit The Other Side of the Door questioning the rules of the ritual, whilst you’re in the midst of its dark embrace it’s reliably creepy.

General release from Fri 4 Mar.

The Other Side of the Door

  • 3 stars
  • 2016
  • India / UK
  • 1h 36min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Johannes Roberts
  • Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto

A mother travels to a temple to help her come to terms with the death of her young son. When she's there, she opens a door she should never have gone near and the balance between life and death is thoroughly disrupted.