Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky, Suchitra Pillai-Malik, Javier Botet, Logan Creran
Written by: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
MPAA Rating: R for some bloody violence
Running Time: 96
Date: 03/04/2016

The Other Side of the Door (2016)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Grave Danger

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though it borrows from Pet Sematary and other chillers, and doesn't offer much in the way of fresh scares, this effective ghostly horror movie works thanks to characters with strong emotional centers. Sarah Wayne Callies (of TV's The Walking Dead and Colony) holds everything together with the believably distraught behavior in her performance. She never does anything dumb; even when she opens the forbidden door, it's done legitimately and understandably.

Maria (Sarah Wayne Callies) and her husband Michael (Jeremy Sisto) run an antique business and live in Mumbai, India. They have a little girl, Lucy (Sofia Rosinsky), but their son Oliver drowned in an accident when a car skidded off the road; Maria blames herself, since she was unable to save both kids. Wracked with grief, she learns from her housekeeper Piki (Suchitra Pillai-Malik) that there's a ritual in which she can speak to her son one last time and make her peace. She must visit an old temple and place his ashes by the door, but must never open it. She does, however, and before long starts to notice evidence of Oliver having returned home. But the ghost may not quite be the Oliver that his mother remembers.

Director Johannes Roberts gives us the usual loud, percussive jump-scares, the ghost with the wide-open mouth, the ghost revealed in a lightning flash, and other old chestnuts, though the characters and the atmosphere of India still help generate a few genuine chills here and there. The movie doesn't seem to care much about any local characters; they are all either servants or creeps, but, focused on the main family unit, The Other Side of the Door tells an effective tale.

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