By David Dent
Matthew T. Price’s only feature film to date is pretty much a modern update of the old Robert Louis Stevenson novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.’
The ‘potion’ in this case is a dating app, unsurprisingly called ‘Other Halves,’ developed by a group of start up codewriters in San Francisco. The principle behind the app is simple; as opposed to your average dating site, where people will often fib in order to seem more interesting, ‘Other Halves’ uses your phone search history to build up a truthful picture of your likes, from sport to porn choices, in order to match you with someone accurately similar.
But there’s a catch. Behind this seemingly innocent device there’s a darker truth – when fired up, the app can mesmerise the user and effectively split their soul in two to expose the real (ie bad) person beneath. Once free of the good part of their inner being, they’re free to cause mayhem and murder. Or something.
Other Halves doesn’t spend a huge amount of time making sense, but it’s reasonably fun while it lasts. The first half of the movie sets itself up as a kind of twentysomething techno comedy, but once the app does its stuff it reinvents itself as a stylish slasher, complete with disposable cast, gratuitous shower scenes and lots of walking around in corridors.
What makes Other Halves marginally more interesting than more straightforward slice and dice features is the head freak narrative. The app affects different people in different ways, often causing temporal shifts, techniques that keep the audience on their toes.
The film looks really good too. For a clearly micro budget effort the tech stuff is pretty believable, and the gore, when it arrives, has a certain giallo quality to it. Added to the mix is a largely female cast, which nicely subverts the usual perception of the tech industry as a boys’ playground.
Ultimately Other Halves is a bit of fluff, but it looks good, moves at quite a pace and in its initial stages elicits a few laughs. I really liked the end credits, designed to look like social media posts. Very clever.