Before diving into the review, I'll provide a brief synopsis of the this film. A daughter tends to her ill mother and during their extensive re-bonding process, supernatural beings spy on the daughter in the shadows. I think that about sums it up.
The more I consider the purpose of The Other One, the more I am brought to blame the categorizers of the movie rather than the makers of the film. Its slow pace, dramatic themes, and mild atmosphere say drama first and anything horror related a distant 10th. Even when the premise and delivery of some films leans heavily on the thriller side rather than the horror side, there is still justification there for either genre because of the common bonds they share. This film, however, possesses nearly none of the qualities that define horror, thriller, or suspense, and it feels purposeful, therefore leading me to chalk this up as a hiccup in genre understanding.
Yet, in many online locales, the film is defined as drama and horror. So perhaps I am giving the director too much credit, the film's lack of tension or foreboding atmosphere wasn't purposeful, and the film is poorly made to meet its goal of genre-bending originality. The film has brief moments, particularly at the beginning, that give you a sense that we are dealing with supernatural entities. The filming and treatment of these entities is clever and subtle, which initially was appreciated, but developed, what would eventually become, merely the illusion of tension.
As the film rolls on, it becomes clear there is nothing vengeful, menacing, or even spiteful about these "ghosts". They aren't going to do anything. Therefore, despite some clever attempt to establish relationships via supernatural elements, these spirits don't have enough fuel to power the vehicle of the plot. Eventually, I was at a crossroads of naive hope that something would eventually happen and feeling cheated out of what was presented as an arthouse horror film.
At the fear of seeming shallow and moronic, I am afraid to dismiss this film entirely from the horror genre. Its form of extreme subtlety may be exactly what some people are looking for in the horror genre. But then again, why would these people be looking for horror at all? This film seemed to me to fit a relatively small niche of the movie-going community, and may only be appreciated by those who come across it thinking it is a mother/daughter drama with docile stalkers obsessed with B&E and neutral observation of grieving widows. The lack of story-defining events and the ambiguous supernatural influence made this film a disappointment even as I began to understand the point. The music detracted any atmosphere that could be established by the spiritual presence, and its unrelenting light and dry tone led me to think this was, indeed, an attempt at a Lifetime Original horror movie, or an attempt at what I'd like to call "plush" horror.
Maybe this isn't such a bad idea...plush horror. It can be heavily-dramatic, slow-paced, vaguely supernatural "scary" film for the sensitive movie goer, or for the truly desperate boyfriend dying to watch anything remotely close to horror or with the intention of weaning the girlfriend onto the genre. Despite my evident sarcasm, perhaps there is some truth in there. Maybe this isn't such a bad idea. Then again, maybe it is.