THE EVIL NEXT DOOR (THE OTHER SIDE, ANDRA SIDAN, 2020)
Directed and written by Tord Danielsson, Oskar Mellander.
Starring Dilan Gwyn, Henrik Norlén, Jakob Fahlstedt, Karin Holmberg, Niklas Jarneheim, Linus Wahlgren, Janna Granström, & Troy James as the Monster!
Find out more about this film here!
Newlyweds Shirin (Dilan Gwyn) and Peter (Henrik Norlén) and his son Polis (Jakob Fahlstedt) are starting a new life in a new home, a duplex in a suburb of Sweden. While Peter is away most of the time for work, this leaves Shirin to attempt to bond with Polis and unpack the home. But Polis begins interacting with an imaginary friend and says that he lives in the empty, adjoining house next door. Though Shirin writes this off to a child’s overactive imagination, she soon begins seeing and hearing things that indicate that something with ill intent really does live in the empty home next door. With Peter away, it is up to Shirin to make sure this entity doesn’t take Polis as it did the family who lived in the home before they moved in.
There isn’t anything actually wrong with THE EVIL NEXT DOOR. It’s a solidly acted film with everyone doing a very convincing job playing their roles. Dilan Gwyn plays Shirin with equal parts hesitance to bond with Polis and a yearning to form a family. The whole film teeters on Shirin’s attempts to understand what her role is in Polis’ life and how she reacts when that life is in danger making it a nice personal story with strong supernatural elements.
The film looks really good as well. Directors Tord Danielsson and Oskar Mellander make the new home look wonderfully homey in the daytime and dismal and diabolical at night. When the lights go out, this home becomes a maze of harsh corners and dark doorways. It really is a great looking set for a horror film and they take full advantage of the long hallways to amp up some very suspenseful scenes. The filmmakers also know how to set up a jump scare well. Yes, the old comin-at-cha scare is overused, but it worked numerous times on me with THE EVIL NEXT DOOR, so I have to give credit where credit is due. The look of the monster is quite scary as well, though the use of contortionists as demons and monsters is getting a bit played out these days. But since CHANNEL ZERO used it to such great effect, it seems to be the new go-to for demons in movies these days.
The problem with THE EVIL NEXT DOOR is that it isn’t really that original. It’s just another new family moves into a haunted house flick. We’ve seen this type of film where the kid makes friends with the ghost, the parents think it’s an imaginary friend, and then it turns out to be an awful monster. THE BABADOOK, INSIDIOUS, and last year’s Z are great examples of this type of film done well. The difference with THE EVIL NEXT DOOR is that it is a Swedish film.
While it does everything pretty right, I can’t help but be distracted by the fact that I’ve seen this type of film quite a few times before. There is a great personal story being told some solid scares, and everything looks very spooky, but just don’t expect anything new from THE EVIL NEXT DOOR if you’ve been following recent horror trends.