The Other Side of the Door movie full length review - OK Horror Flick with 'postcolonial exotic' touch
I'm not going go over the whole synopsis again (for that purpose just check the storyline summary provided by IMDb above).
As a horror movie this performed fine. Not amazing, not super scary, not extraordinary, just... fine.
There is a whole bunch of jump scares which you can see coming a mile away (but then I always wonder if by now we're just so desensitized to them that we just can't enjoy them the same way anymore). There is a (of course fictitious) background lore to the story which makes a nice change to your everyday ouija board/satanism/demon routine in stories rooted in western locations. The design of the 'gatekeeper' is really cool in my opinion and big props to actually having a makeup team and actress play most of it rather than going all CGI on it (but don't get the wrong idea, they make up for it with a quite unnecessary CGI scare right in the beginning). The Aghori (the ash smeared Sadhus) here and there manage to create a quite creepy ambiance. The longing for a guilt ridden mother to see her lost child again is portrayed quite believably especially after we get to participate in the heart wrenching scene of how she lost her child. We also have a father who conveniently is present or absent/cares or doesn't care where his wife happens to be however it may serve the plot. And we have child actors who do an OK job. Not great. But OK.
That being said the Horror part of the movie is more than predictable to anyone who's even just a bit familiar with the genre.
If you are just looking for something lightweight to watch on a lazy night or if you just starting to watch Horror movies, it's entertaining enough. If you're looking for something fresh in Horror movies, not so much. So much for the general review.
Now a little note from someone who's a foreigner living in Mumbai:
Even if the lore about the temple and the gatekeeper is made up, there are quite interesting touches to the movie. For example the couple lives in the so called Rudyard Kipling's Bungalow (or the Dean's House) which was supposedly (but more likely not) Kipling's birth house. Quite surprised they got the permission to film there. And also nice touch that at the same time the dead boy's favourite book is the Jungle Book and his favourite toy Sher Khan the tiger. Really nice touch.
However, as someone who lives here I found it quite sad that when this could have been a chance to do differently, Mumbai/India and the way the family was portrayed living there was executed along the same lazy old stereo types mostly present already in Kipling's times. We have the slums, the superstitious maid, narrow lanes, crowded trains, tiny food shacks, a maid that looks like she dresses for the 1800's (or as a congress politician) and well as already said a rich white couple living in a (in real life unaffordably expensive) colonial bungalow... Mumbai is a city of wonderful old architecture in the south and skyscrapers in the middle and north, of 5 star restaurants, mega malls and bustling modern urban life. Yes, of course there are a lot of slums, there are narrow lanes and cheap food places in plenty as well, but usually you wouldn't find any westerners there (unless they're participating in guided tours). They usually don't eat in small shacks but rather in Hardrock Cafe or Leopold's, and they usually live in rooms well equipped with ACs, TV and Internet. Also btw, public cremation is banned in Mumbai (i think it only still exists in Varanasi, but not quite sure) so also that wouldn't happen.
I know this is way too much nitpicking over a meh-level Horror movie, but while being happy to recognize places of my current city, the whole setting still seemed a bit crooked and anachronic. It was Mumbai/India, but through the same old colonial glasses that should have been tossed for good at least 70 years ago.