The Other Side of the Door

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Other Side of the Door Movie Poster Image
Emotionally resonant horror tale has children in peril.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie suggests that there are no easy answers; a price must be paid for the things we think we want. It also presents a very white-centric vision of another culture.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults act somewhat irresponsibly, although mainly out of ignorance. Otherwise, characters are mainly frightened victims.


Stabbings, gushing blood. Demon possession and ritual. Children are in peril: A child dies, stuck in a sinking car filling with water. A woman overdoses on pills but is saved. Bite mark on a young girl's shoulder. Jump-scares. Creepy ghosts and other scary figures. A dead body stuck under a car suddenly twists its neck and opens its eyes. Pets die. Digging up a grave. Cockroaches swarming. Dog possibly injured/killed.


A married couple kisses while in bed, and she removes her top (nothing sensitive shown). They appear to begin making love, but the scene ends.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • 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 ...

  • Families can talk about The Other Side of the Door's violence. How much is shown, and how much is implied? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • 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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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