The Other Side Of Darkness Image

The Other Side Of Darkness

By Bobby LePire | October 21, 2022

The Other Side Of Darkness is a tale of two movies in one. In the first plotline, writer-director Adam Deierling looks at the trials and tribulations of foster care child Taylor Jo (Maggie Callahan). Her foster father is abusive and never believes her. But, on her sixteenth birthday, TJ is mysteriously gifted a Jeep with West Virginia plates. Thinking this could lead to her birth family, TJ convinces her best friend, Hannah (Olivia Billings), and her brother Patrick (Drake Tobias), to undertake this road trip with her.

Once there, Taylor Jo does a blood relative, grandfather Jack (Scott Davis). While he’s a bit curmudgeonly, Jack is ecstatic to see TJ, the spitting image of his daughter. Now, the two bond as she gets background information on where she came from. All the while, Patrick and Hannah try to help out around the solitary mountain home, despite having an eerie feeling in the pit of their stomachs.

This section is gripping as anything. While some cliches abound, Deierling makes the characters feel fully formed. What each person gets from the road trip/meeting Jack is clear, as is Taylor Jo’s desperate need to escape her current situation. It is chockful of raw emotion that is earned.

“…discover plans someone cooked up to take out the substations and transformers…”

The second half of The Other Side Of Darkness, which runs close to 2-hours long, takes a hard turn into thriller territory. Hannah, Patrick, and TJ discover plans someone cooked up to take out the substations and transformers throughout the area. The delusional person(s?) hopes this will bring down America’s power grid. Now, the trio of friends needs to thwart this dastardly deed before it is too late.

It’s an interesting direction to go, completely unexpected even. But does it work? Mostly, yes. The build-up to this new narrative is too fast, leaving little suspense as to what is in that mysterious metal box. It also robs viewers of some more tender conversations between Jack and Taylor Jo, as she never divulges to her grandpa her precarious home life.

But, the filmmaker still keeps the tension high throughout The Other Side Of Darkness. While the drama does take a backseat, the thriller elements are exciting on their own. Plus, the cast is great. Davis does an excellent job of making viewers question his true intentions. Callahan shines, conveying an understanding of emotions well beyond her years. Her chemistry with Billings and Tobias is excellent, and they feel like true friends.

The Other Side Of Darkness throws a curveball that could confuse or turn audiences off. While the familial drama is more engrossing than the terrorist plot, Deierling is at least ambitious and swings big. Plus, the acting is superb, so the two halves still work together.

The Other Side Of Darkness (2022)

Directed and Written: Adam Deierling

Starring: Maggie Callahan, Olivia Billings, Drake Tobias, Scott Davis, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Other Side Of Darkness Image

"…chockful of raw emotion..."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon