DreadWorld Review: Other Halves (2016)

Admission time: I am not very good with computers. I grew up just slightly ahead of the computer boom of the 90's, so things like programming and coding are pretty much foreign concepts to me. One of the reasons this site looks like the nonsensical ramblings of a mentally challenged ape is because of this very reason. Other than centering some pics or adding some spaces, the language of computers is something I just don't understand. Luckily there are folks out there that are smarter than I am. Some of those folks created a little film called Other Halves.

For the folks behind the dating app "Other Halves," code is their language. After stumbling upon what they believe could be the formula for a winning dating app, they set on their pressure filled task to launch the app before it's rapidly approaching release date. Add in a spurned ex-programmer, some last minute glitches, and the fact that beta testing of the app makes you kill people and "Other Halves," the app seems to be more trouble than it's worth.

I know what you are thinking...wait...what? It makes you kill people. Well, not exactly, the makes you become the full version of yourself, and for a surprising number of people, their true selves are vicious murderers. Who knew?

Other Halves, the film, not the app, is full of enough techno jargon to satisfy the most nerdy of the silicon valley inhabitants. But at its heart Other Halves is not some weird Cronenberg Existenz inspired technocratic thriller. It's got more of it's heart in the stalk and slash films of the 80's, with just a dash of Argento's macabre giallos thrown in for good measure. Which should make it a no brainer for the DW crowd.

Or at least it should have. Other Halves looses it's way almost more than it finds it. And the delicate balance between technology and old school horror film falls apart during the films final act when Director Matthew T. Price and co-writer Kelly Morr introduce a "split personality" element to the plot that feels cribbed from only the worst Lifetime films.

That being said...the film is actually pretty good. Whether intentional or not, the tonal discourse of the film actually works in its favor. It leaves you uncomfortable. One of the many issues with modern horror films is that, as seasoned horror fans, we can predict exactly whats going to come next. Repetition has bred familiarity. Familiarity is certainly not a problem with Other Halves. That unknown is not going to work for everyone. The abrupt changes in tone may prove to be too jarring for some.

While the script gets a little wacky in its third act, the stalk and slash moments, which are really the crux of the narrative, work very well. Like many independent horror films, the acting in Other Halves tends to be all over the place. You are not getting Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice in Other Halves. Proverbial "final girl" Lauren Lakis is fine as the lead of the film, and not too hard on the eyes in that quirky way. The rest of the cast vacillates between wooden and serviceable, which is par for the course when it comes to indie films.

Other Halves suffers from a bit of an identity problem but there is enough positive in the film to keep it intriguing. At it's heart it's tight little slasher with some modern accouterments thrown in. When it starts to spread it's wings in the third act and take on too much is when Other Halves falls apart a bit. The film just made it's theatrical debut and is sure to be hitting the various VOD platforms in the near future.

*** 1/4 stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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