A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Other Side of the Door is a horror movie about a mother (The Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies) who tries to communicate with her dead son and accidentally brings back his malevolent ghost. Language, drinking, and smoking aren't issues, but there's plenty of scariness and violence, including a couple of bloody stabbings. Perhaps even more disturbing is the death of a young boy while trapped in a sinking car; his mother can't save both him and his sister. There are also plenty of ghosts and creatures, jump-scares, and other spooky, creepy, or startling moments. Plus, a woman takes a pill overdose, a dog is potentially harmed (off screen), and a married couple has a very mild kissing, possibly-leading-to-sex scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
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, Maria 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 -- though she must never open it. But (naturally) she does, and before long she starts to notice evidence of Oliver having returned home. But the ghost might not quite be the Oliver that his mother remembers.
Is it any good?
Though it borrows from Pet Sematary and other chillers and doesn't offer many fresh scares, this effective ghostly horror movie works thanks to characters with strong emotional centers. Callies (of TV's The Walking Dead and Colony) holds everything together with the believably distraught behavior in her performance. Maria never does anything dumb; even when she opens the forbidden door, it's done legitimately and understandably.
Director Johannes Roberts gives viewers 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 help generate a few genuine/fresh chills here and there. The movie doesn't seem to care much about any local characters; they're all either servants or creeps, but, focused on the main family unit, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR tells an effective tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
How scary is the movie? How does it compare to other horror movies you've seen? What's the appeal of watching a scary movie? Are all gory movies scary? Why or why not?
How did it feel having children be the focus of so much of the movie's scary stuff?
- In theaters: March 4, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: June 7, 2016
- Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky
- Director: Johannes Roberts
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some bloody violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.