The Other Side (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
If you know me, you will know that I am a big fan of the short film medium and I try to check out as many as I can. I’ve been blessed in the fact that I have seen some really terrific examples from all corners of the planet; South America, Australia, Canada and Hungary, amongst many others, and of course the UK. It’s the UK I visit again for this 20 minute short, which I discovered after spying the quite wonderful artwork.
The Other Side is set in rural England where young nanny Sophie travels out to a remote farmhouse for her new job. Upon arriving she is met with mild hostility from James, who is the father of the baby she is employed to look after. The baby’s mother, Rachel, soon arrives to try and ease the atmosphere and shows Sophie to her room, whilst James storms off.
As if the atmosphere in her new home isn’t bad enough, her first night there is about to take a decidedly more violent turn after a hulking intruder arrives on the scene. From here on in the movie takes a tense and violent turn for the worst as Sophie tries to protect the baby.
In terms of plot, The Other Side seemed to me to riff on movies such as Halloween and The Strangers. These visual and structural elements are plain to see, but there are also other influences at play here. To reveal those though would be to spoil not only the story itself, but also to spoil your enjoyment of this short, sharp horror flick. Because, yes I did enjoy it, I enjoyed it a lot, even with the familiar elements of the plot.
The film itself is incredibly well made, with a terrifically sharp picture, great camerawork and all around top-notch production values. I would also recommend watching this with a decent sound system and the lights out; the sound design here is phenomenal and fairly booms out of the speakers, adding to the atmosphere of the film.
With regards to the cast here, there are only seven characters, one of which is the baby, and all play there parts convincingly. As for faces you might recognize, Nick Moran (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) plays James, and Amelie Warner (Mansfield Park) as Rachel. Both give really solid performances in their roles as the parents. The focus of the film though is Sophie, played by Jennie Jacques, who I recognized from another home invasion flick; Cherry Tree Lane. She is the catalyst of The Other Side and carries the emotional weight of the film.
The Other Side is the narrative driven film debut of The Santoro Brothers, and judging from this I do not think it will be the last we here of them. Having previously directed commercials and shows for television they show here a great eye for film, and The Other Side makes a really convincing calling card. Whether or not they decide to expand on this film in the future, the potential is most certainly here with regards to the killer, or head out into something new, I will be checking it out. Hopefully they will stay within the horror genre as The Other Side has all the elements needed in terms of structure and plot, and is a cracking yarn.
Good horror films don’t always need to be the re-inventing of the wheel when it comes to plotting, just as long as the execution of the story is convincing, and that is exactly what you get here with The Other Side. It’s tense, bloody (although not gory) and technically is superb. With The Other Side the Santoro Brothers have done great job all around and hopefully it is a good sign of things to come.
The Other Side is set to hit the festival circuit this year and you can check out more about the film at Groundbreak Films Official Site.