20TH CENTURY FOX
The Other Side of the Door is a box recipe made from common ingredients found in Insidious and The Ring, along with a heaping tablespoon of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. The results are edible enough, but so is macaroni & cheese. It takes a special kind of chef to make old things new again, which this dish doesn't have.
Sarah Wayne Callies (she of The Walking Dead fame) plays Maria, living abroad in India with her dedicated-but-dull husband (Jeremy Sisto, one of the reasons I quit watching Law & Order). She's still grieving over the loss of her son, Oliver, who recently died in a car accident. When her native housekeeper, Piki, informs her of a ritual involving spreading her son's ashes on the steps of an ancient temple in order to briefly bring him back to life so she can give a proper goodbye, Maria jumps at the chance. There are rules, of course, the main one being that Maria should not open the temple door, no matter how much her resurrected son begs. Of course, Maria violates that rule, otherwise, no movie. Oliver does indeed return, but in a revelation that'll shock no one, he's completely evil.
The film starts off pretty slow, then only moves in fits & starts once it gets down to business. There are a few jump scares along the way, but for the most part, we've seen this story before, the kind which depends on the utter stupidity of certain characters to move it along. In this case, it's Maria, which comes as no surprise. The desperate, grieving parent is such a hoary old cliche that we're 100% certain she's going to make the worst possible decisions before we even pop in the disc.
So what we're left with is the cinema equivalent of mac & cheese. It’s by-the-numbers filmmaking, as if preparation instructions were listed on the back of a box. What’s wrong with throwing a pinch of this or a dash of that just to make it all a bit more memorable?
- Deleted Scenes
- "Behind the Door" (a very short promotional featurette with co-producer Alexandre Aja)