Film Review: The Other Side of the Door & The Boy

Other Side of the Door

It’s been forever since I’ve seen a decent horror film and I was desperate to see something good. In the absence of a great horror, I went to see The Other Side of the Door. I hadn’t seen any trailers for it and the write up didn’t sound massively promising. An American couple living in India lose their son in tragic circumstances, so when the mother learns of a way in which she can talk to him for one last time, she jumps at the chance.

Same old, same old, right? Just another one of your typical ghost stories.

Well, yes and no. It’s not an original story by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who knows the story of the monkey paw will know what’s going to happen. But despite that, I absolutely loved it! Perhaps it was because I had no preconceptions and my expectations were low, but even knowing what was going to happen (and the filmmakers managed to squeeze in a nice little twist at the end that I didn’t see coming) didn’t take away from a film that was disturbing, unsettling and really rather sad.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried.

If you’re looking for a ghost story that’s deftly told with characters you care about and brings a new take on an old classic, you’ll love The Other Side of the Door.

4.5 out of 5 stars

If you liked this, you’ll also like The Others and The Woman in Black

The Boy

Unlike The Other Side of the Door, I’d been looking forward to seeing The Boy for ages, so as soon as it came out, I toddled off to the cinema to see it.

The basic premise is that an American woman is hired to serve as a nanny for an elderly British couple’s son. When she arrives, she discovers that the child is, in fact, a doll and she is expected to treat it as though it were alive, following a strict routine with strange rules. After the couple leave for their first holiday in years, at first, she ignores their instructions. However, she soon starts to suspect that the doll is alive, perhaps possessed by the spirit of the couple’s real son who died many years ago in a fire.

The film had so much promise. The first half or so was really nicely done and there were a number of directions it could have gone in. However, the second half devolved into cliché that’s hard to talk about in any detail for fear of giving spoilers. Suffice to say that although I didn’t see the end coming, in hindsight, I should have done and the rest of the audience was laughing at the end of the film, which is never a good sign for a horror.

Still, overall, I enjoyed it and probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t recently seen The Other Side of the Door which is an infinitely superior film.

3.5 out of 5 stars

If you liked this, you’ll also like You’re Next.

It’s Giveaway Time!

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In celebration of all the new visitors to my blog, I think it’s time to give something back, so I’m launching a giveaway.

Anyone who comments on this post will be entered into a competition to win a signed copy of either Behind the Scenes or We Just Clicked – your choice! And if you already have both those books, don’t worry. As an alternative, I will write a short story for you based on a title you supply and naming a character after you (or someone you nominate).

The winner will be chosen at random on 31st March from all the comments on this post, so get commenting!

(P.S. I’m happy to ship worldwide, so don’t worry if you’re not in the UK. You can still win a copy of my  book.)

What Building Legos Taught Me About Writing

As part of the Intentional Blogging Challenge, I got to have the privilege of having Courtney Hunt write a guest blog post for me. In it, she shares her insights into how Lego and writing are surprisingly similar…

Though this winter was otherwise mild in the Washington, DC area, we did get a historic blizzard.  We live about 40 miles northwest of DC and got 39 inches—yes, three feet, three inches—which kept us indoors for a week. Needless to say, my seven year old did not have school.  (Also known as “No, you will not write so much as a sentence, Mommy! No productivity for you!”)

Thankfully, Santa as well as wonderful family members and friends brought tons of Legos for Christmas. My son and I spent his snow days building with the tiny little bricks. (AKA manicure ruiners and impromptu burglar device—you ever stepped on one? Yeouch!)

While building my 87-step tow truck, I reflected on what building Legos can teach you about writing and came up with these four lessons:

1) Reality won’t match the picture in your head. The picture on the front of the box looks perfect. Just like the mental picture of your beautiful story with the clever dialogue and gorgeous metaphors. And then, in reality, you put the sticker on crooked (or backwards) and it never comes out just like the photo on the box. That’s okay. It’s still a beautiful Lego tow truck or a novel. Whichever.

2) It will take much longer than you expect. I hoped that I could finish our Lego car carrier in something less than a lunar month. Maybe not. We’ll see if I get it done by June. Just like a novel, it takes way longer than you thought it would to put together hundreds of Lego pieces into something resembling the intended creation. That’s ok. Take however much time you need.

3) You’ll always have extra pieces. I think Lego puts extras in there just so you’re never entirely sure that you followed the directions properly. No matter what happens, there are going to be pieces of the story—scenes, dialogue, description, the entire third act—that you don’t need for the final version. Keep them in a handy-dandy Ziploc or writing folder. You might need them for that next project—Lego or otherwise.

4) Push past the give-up point. There’s a point in every project where you’d like to toss it across the room. For Lego, this usually happened around step twenty. For writing, it’s usually just past the mid-point where I decide I hate the story, every character in it is too stupid to live, I must have been drunk when I came up with the idea and I should never again scribble notes in the middle of the night. At that moment, maybe take a short break, grab a juice box, and just breathe for a bit. Then, keep going. You’ll never build that thousand-piece castle if you quit. Same for your novel.

Now that the snow has finally melted and we’re beginning to see signs of spring, it’s time to get back to writing mine.

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Courtney Hunt is the author of the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, the Always a Bridesmaid series, and Kindle Scout winner The Lost Art of Second Chances. She’s a recovering attorney and lives with her husband and son outside of Washington, DC. Visit her at her website at www.courtney-hunt.com to sign up for her newsletter or connect with her on Twitter at @courtneyhunt71.