Samuel North (Nathan Mobley) is skipping his college graduation to get back to the woman he loves, Hanna Thompson (Jaimie Alexander). A cell phone conversation sets up a rendezvous at their favorite spot, but the meeting never takes place. One of Hanna's co-workers tells a little lie to get some jerk to leave her alone, and that sets the jerk on Hanna's trail. As for Sam, he begins the victim of a strange car accident and wakes up in a hospital bed, where he learns that Hanna is missing and that all those strange dreams he had while he was unconscious were memories of time he spent in Hell. The bad news is that Sam was killed by the accident, but the good news is that he has escaped from Hell, which results in more bad news because Hell has sent a trio of demon bounty hunters known as Reapers to fetch him back. So Sam has to find the missing Sarah and avoid the Reapers, aided and abetted not only by Peter (Stephen Caudill), a friend who happens to be a cop, but also Oz (Poncho Hodges) and Malley (Cory Rouse), who have also escaped from Hell and provide the brawn and the comic relief Sam need to get out of this situation alive (depending on how you define "alive").
Writer-director Gregg Bishop supposed made this 2006 film guerilla-style for $15,000 in Atlanta, and by that standard the results are pretty impressive. While watching the film I was wondering why they seemed to always being filming during the day time and not having the money to shoot at night, or on real sets, or with lots of special effects, would pretty much explain it. That being said, it is ironic that "The Other Side" reminded me of "The Matrix," but that would be in regards to the basic situation: guy who thinks he is normal discovers he is in a different "world" where there are sides and strange stuff happening. Ironically I had watched the pilot for Kevin Smith's "Reapers" on television a couple of weeks ago, and I was a devotee of the Grim Reapers on Dead Like Me, but none of them would stand a chance against Bishop's Reapers. There is a limited amount of blood and gore here, because the emphasis is more on action, which explains why I want to think of "The Other Side" as being much more of a supernatural thriller than a horror film. Plus there is a great little gag involving those Neighborhood Watch signs.
I had some concerns over the basic situation here once the rules of the game were laid out, but I took all of that with a grain of salt because I picked up on the fact that there were clearly things we did not know that would better explaining what is going on. That indeed proves to be the case, but they are not predictable things that you can figure out before they are sprung. What Bishop has going for him in "The Other Side" is that he takes his story and runs with it; things are always moving in this film and that forgives a lot of faults, especially when the cast commits to what they are being asked to do. I admire the effort more than I enjoyed the results, but there is much to be said for a film where the problem is the production's lack of money rather than a lack of brains by the people controlling the creative process. When you think of all the low-budget dreck you have seen in your life, especially in the horror genre, this little independent film helps restore your faith that there are people out there who can do a lot with a little.