Director – Gregg Bishop
Cast – Nathan Mobley, Jaimie Alexander, Cory Rouse, Poncho Hodges, Shale Nelson, Stephen Caudill, Chris Burns, Vince Canlas, Cynthia Evans, Daniel Massey Tovell, Lori Beth Edgeman, Brian De Pue
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After hearing positive buzz about this low-budget indie flick I decided to put some other flicks aside and give this one a shot. While this film’s plot is one I heavily enjoyed, I did not nearly enjoy this film as I wanted to, and expected to. Much like Death of a Ghost Hunter, this is an indie flick that had much potential but fell short in the end.
The Other Side stars Nathan Mobley as Samuel North, a graduating college student embarking on a long sought after journey to see his high school sweetheart Hanna Thompson(Jaime Alexander: Hallowed Ground, Rest Stop). While waiting for Hanna to arrive at their “spot” along a beautiful waterfall Samuel is rammed off of the road by a mysterious white van. Sam is then sent to hell, but before he has the time to realize it he wakes up in a hospital room surrounded by police. Hanna is missing, and he is the only suspect until the person in the white van can be found. Sam manages to leave the hospital, causing a police manhunt for his capture, but his problems are only beginning. A group of “reapers” have been sent from hell to bring him back to the very pit he inadvertently escaped. He must now join forces with others who have escaped hell recently, and battle the reapers as well as find the culprit behind Hanna’s disappearance.
As I mentioned earlier, I really love this film’s plot. A person escaping from hell only to be tracked down by Satan’s minions was a genius idea in my opinion which was only made even more epic due to the love story attached to it. Character-wise this film excelled in Sam’s case because we got a first person look in to the hell he escaped and the figurative hell he is now a part of. The relationship struggles he went through to keep him and Hanna together throw him into deep despair over his disappearance and the annoying reapers that constantly get in the way of his investigation.
Writer/director Gregg Bishop did a good job with this film’s camera work and editing but it seems film fell short mainly to budgetary constraints. With only a $15,000 budget he could only do so much with this plot and I believe it kept him from making this film a great one. How so? Well, all of the film takes place in pretty much the same area of town, which does not engage the viewer as much given we are not shown any great atmosphere or cool scenarios as the hands of Sam’s surroundings. With a bigger budget Mr. Bishop would have been able to take the viewer for a ride between both worlds and many twists and turns. This also would have helped with this film’s pacing, which went pretty bad midway through the film simply because it was nothing but “running from demons” for an overly long and uninteresting amount of time.
I really wish we would have had more scenes in Hell given I really enjoyed how he portrayed hell in this flick. It was not the usual fire and brimstone but something much creepier in nature. I can further prove that with a good budget he would have been able to do more simply because of his follow-up flick to this film, the properly-budgeted Dance of the Dead, which was a very awesome zombie film.
The acting performances were sub-par but as with all low-budget films that should be expected, and I personally did not like the look of the reapers. They were simply demons that took over the bodies of recently deceased humans(pre-decaying bodies, not zombie-esque), which is lame but obviously a result of this film’s low budget. It is unfortunate that this film has to suffer so much due to monetary issues, but a mediocre film is a mediocre film in the end.
Overall, this is a decent film that had much potential but in the end would up being nothing special. A great storyline and cool direction are all this film has going for it and unfortunately crumbles due to its inability to “move” quickly enough.