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John’s Horror Corner: Other Halves (2016), an indie techno-horror with both feminist and sexual overtones, an evil dating app, and surprisingly good use of nudity.

January 22, 2016

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MY CALL: A pleasant indie horror film with both feminist and sexual overtones, Other Halves presents an evil dating app, a strong female cast and better acting than we should expect. It’s more playful than scary, the movie kills are weak, the gore is “okay”, but what makes this film work is some very likable characters. This is more for critics and film aficionados than general horror fans. MORE MOVIES LIKE Other Halves: Other techno-horror films include Smiley (2012) which uses Skype, Strangeland (1998) which uses old-school chat rooms and Unfriended (2015) which covers everything from Facebook and Skype to Gmail and Google.

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Disclaimer: This review was solicited by the filmmakers. However, my opinion remains unbiased as I was neither hired nor paid to produce this critical review.

For more information about this film visit their official:
Website: www.OtherHalv.es
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt4308714
Twitter: www.twitter.com/otherhalvesfilm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OtherHalvesFilm
YouTube: www.youtube.com/OtherHalves
(includes trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes)

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After opening with a refreshingly honest commercial for the dating app “Other Halves” we cut to Jasmine (Mercedes Manning; Monster Heroes), who has just awoken naked, covered in blood, beside a dead man who was presumably her un-lucky date last night. Amplifying the contrast between these two opening scenes is that Jasmine reacts as if this has happened before. Uh ohhhhh…

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We find the Other Halves programming team working out the bugs on the eve of their big launch. Rather than answering a series of vetting questions, preferences and filling out personal data, the app uses all of your online activity to summarize your “real” preferences to match you with your other half. The problem is that, in this case, the bug opens a psychopathic doorway to our most uninhibited selves (our darker half), which amounts to a bunch of sex and murder.

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As the movie progresses people become “infected” by the app and a series of flashbacks reveal that some of them actually knew about the App’s flaw. But why keep that a secret? Well therein lies your story in this low budget techno-horror.

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Now let’s be honest, people. There’s a good amount of full frontal nudity (male and female) in this movie–some of it gratuitous (okay, most of it), but some of it actually adding value to the scene. Now I’m not complaining about this at all. I’m just warning that you don’t go watching this with your kids or your grandmother. That said, I’d like to point out that there is a rather long shower scene in which we see Devon (Lauren Lakis; Lovely Molly, Witch’s Brew) and Jasmine completely naked for a good while. But what sets this film apart is that, and I shit you not, these ladies are seriously acting throughout this scene… totally naked, but addressing some pertinent plot points as seriously as if they were in an informal meeting. Bravo, filmmakers! I’d say you’ve risen above adding boobs to get teenagers to buy your movie and sort of made nudity cool again.

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Some of the characters’ reactions were, at times, a little exaggerated. But this is to be expected in horror and, to be quite honest, the acting vastly eclipsed any expectations I had for a low budget horror capitalizing on dating and sex for its theme. I also found myself really liking a some of the characters, particularly the quirky optimist Devon, the geek-in-love (Megan Hui), and the rigidly literal socially awkward German Jana (Melanie Friedrich). These characters (these actors) offered up more than most horror movies deserve. And whereas the plot was quite basic, I never found myself bothered by its simplicity. The cast carried this film much to my satisfaction and they did so with the female characters bringing all of the strength for both protagonists and antagonists alike. The men filled more supporting roles–eye candy, love interests, victims. Even the female nudity was delivered in a minimally exploitative manner–even if gratuitous.

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My only real complaints would be budget-linked. For example, there are a couple good efforts regarding the gore but the actual killing (except for a weak strangle scene), takes place off-camera. The ending also really gets overly hammed up–I guess I didn’t really care for that, or the “big reveal.” But sometimes simple concepts and melodrama are necessary tools to ensure your entire audience follows and understands the journey to its end.

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Writer/director Matthew T. Price did a pretty nice job for his horror film. Am I going to recommend this film to general horror fans? Honestly, probably not. But I would recommend this to deeper and more thoughtful fans of the genre, particularly indie horror fans, who are always on the lookout for promising new filmmakers and underutilized concepts (i.e., techno-horror, social media horror, feminist themes). And I really like what Price and his cast accomplished. I’d like to see what this crew could do with a little more money and, no offense to the writers, but a little more experience.

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A pleasant indie horror film with both feminist and sexual overtones, Other Halves presents an evil dating app, a strong female cast and better acting than we should expect. It’s more playful than scary, the movie kills are weak, the gore is “okay”, but what makes this film work is some very likable characters.

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