Loosely inspired by the director’s own memory of a girl’s disappearance from her village, the film follows Arlene (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), a young factory worker living alone in a rural Irish community
It’s not uncommon to see horror movies made in foreign counties and then brought over to the United States. The most common of these movies will usually come from places such as; England, Italy, and Japan, but you might even come across some from New Zealand, Germany, or even Sweden. But this is the first that I have seen that has come over from Ireland. Most movies that come over from England are pretty good, and being as the two counties are only 300 miles apart, my guess is that it should at least be on par to be an average movie. Besides, the title is one that allows your mind to wonder; The Other Side of Sleep.
Right from the beginning you can tell that this is more of a psychological, indie movie then something packed full of blood and gore. We start with two women sleeping outside in the woods, when the one girl awakes; we assume that the other would follow. This does not happen, and we are introduced to the main character, Arlene (Antonia Campbell-Hughs) and her dilemma, that of course being the question of if she had killed the other girl or not.
Though out the movie there are a couple of key points that you pick up, the first being that Arlene has lost her bracelet, this doesn’t play too heavy until the end. Next is that she is a sleep walker, and tries her hardest to stop herself from sleeping. The last being that she isn’t very happy with her life.
The last is the main driving point for the plot, and what everything revolves around in this movie. She has a very tedious, monotonous job that she only does because it’s more convenient then change. She lives in a small town that is seemingly blocked by woods and open country side, making it look like there isn’t anywhere else to go. Her life is drab and dark; most of the shots detailing her character are done with little light, causing shadows and dark pockets, even the choice of wardrobe helps play on this, devoid of flashy colors.
That’s not to say that there isn’t anything else to the movie, the other plot line is about Arlene’s struggles to try and make sure that no one can pin the death of the other girl on her. She even goes as far as to become friends with the girls’ family, mainly her little sister, and starts to feel the same away about the death as the family does.
There are a few problems and questions that I came across while watching this movie, the first is that there is very little dialogue, and the dialogue that is there is very hard to hear, sub titles are a must. It’s also hard to stay involved in the movie when there is very little substance to help move the plot forward. But the biggest question that I have is in the beginning when Arlene first walks away from the dead body, we get to see how dirty and bruised she is, now later in the movie she wakes up on the floor of her apartment dirty and bloody with the front door hanging open. They never mention where she went, if she had hurt someone again, or if this was some type of flashback just thrown in to confuse the viewer.
I do have to say that this movie might not have a lot to offer in the way of a strong story or a thrilling plot, but I want to mention that I did enjoy the ending. It completes the story, and that’s one of the more positive points about this movie, it does end, and the ending makes sense. It doesn’t tie up every loose end, but the symbolism they use in the last scene makes it the best scene in the movie.
Psychological movies aren’t for everyone, and if you’re one of those people, then this is differently not for you. If you like to try and analyze and look for the hidden meaning behind certain scenes, then check this one out, you might even see a different meaning in the movie then I did.