The In Between (2022) review: An imbalanced teen romance

The In Between is a romantic movie that touches on the supernatural genre. It is based on a teen who believes she is getting signs from the afterlife after losing her soulmate to an accident. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

The film alternates between flashbacks of the past and scenes from the present.

Tessa (Joey King), a passionate young photographer meets Skylar (Kyle Allen) at a screening of Betty Blue, where he translates the French movie for her since there are no subtitles. 

Exactly 182 days after their meet-cute, Tessa survives a road accident leaving her with a ruptured heart and a dead boyfriend. 

She soon begins receiving signs that she believes to be from Skylar who is stuck in ‘the in between’. Skylar visits her in her dreams, telling her he’s still there. Skylar’s song simultaneously blares through the phones of everyone present in the classroom. 

With some help from Doris, a patient, and Shannon, her friend, Tessa tries to contact Skylar in the afterlife.

Performances

King seems well-prepared by her previous roles in The Conjuring and The Kissing Booth, to play Tessa in this supernatural romance. 

Allen charms the audience with his dignified take on the dreamy and upbeat love interest, Skylar.

Dickens merits applause for her sincere portrayal of Vickie, Tessa’s adoptive mother who looks for every opportunity to bond with Tessa. 

In the little screen time that she has, Donna Biscoe nails the role of the eerie occultist guiding Tessa to Skylar. 

Positives

Right from their dreamy meet-cute, the romantic plot with pleasant characters and cheesy yet memorable dialogues is appealing to watch given King and Allen’s superb chemistry. 

Tessa fails to fall into the easy-to-get-caught-up-in withdrawn teenager stereotype, offering a more satisfying and round character. 

The story is told in two different timelines but prevents confusion through the use of colour grading and a change in the protagonist’s haircut. 

Special effects are employed in scenes of the present to illustrate the paranormal force and are used just enough to not distract from the dialogue and plot. In some cases, the special effects used enhance the visual impact of the scene, such as the use of an anamorphic lens creates multiple lens flares in one of the final scenes which gives it a metaphysical tone. 

Negatives

The film has a foot in both the romantic and supernatural genres and cannot seem to find a balance as the flashbacks that explore the couple’s blossoming love have a higher hold on the audience than the paranormal aspect. Trying to fill the shoes of a ‘teen romance’ results in a score and scenes that one might find in the latest rom-com. 

The film brushes upon a problematic theme by romanticizing Tessa’s deadly persistence to reunite with her lost lover. 

The film’s use of scenes solely to remind the viewers of the couple’s impending fate is welcome as a creative instrument at first but loses its effect on repetition. 

At one point during the film, Shannon agrees to one of Tessa’s requests without a question which seems highly unlikely in light of Tessa’s condition at the time. 

Verdict

Fans of the teen romance genre are sure to praise this film and might only have complaints about the dispensability of the supernatural element. Whereas paranormal fans expecting jump scares or supernatural rules are likely to be disappointed by the overpowering romance.

Rating: 3/5


Also Read: The In Between (2022) summary and ending explained