A song called ‘Teenage Headache Dreams’ plays in the background as viewers get a visual introduction to the teen protagonist of 2022 film ‘The In Between’. Joey King is Tessa, an introvert student who loves taking photographs. The song might remind some of us that every emotion in the world is multiplied by two when you are young. So when Tessa loses her boyfriend in a car crash, she believes he is trying to reach out to her and is stuck ‘in between’ life and after-life. Is she delusional due to trauma or is he really out there?

Directed by Arie Posin and written by Marc Klein, ‘The In Between’ has a great first half for a teen-romance movie. Tessa meets the charismatic Skylar (Kyle Allen) at the movies, they are the only two people in the audience and manage to strike a connection. What follows is a summer romance, that’s shown through flashbacks, while Tessa in the present tries to reach out to the dead boyfriend. It’s a beautifully shot film, especially since the setting is by a lovely seaside town, and we get some great outdoor scenes. Joey King and Kyle Allen compliment each other well and make an adorable onscreen couple. But the story begins to drag after sixty minutes and Tessa’s overtly dramatic reaction to everything begins to get on your nerves. Skylar on the other-hand, despite being a ‘jock’, is a lot more likeable.

The supernatural plot of the story borders on plain silly/hilarious and would’ve probably been more entertaining if this was an animated film, because there’s so much scope to go a little crazy with ghosts and effects. For a live-action feature-length film, the ghostly bits are boring and snooze-worthy. Actor Celeste O’Connor brings some life to the weak second-half as Tessa’s best-friend Shannon, who is extremely supportive and does her best to lighten up Tessa’s life.

Had this been a plain old teen romance film about a young girl coping with the loss of her boyfriend, ‘The In Between’ would’ve probably worked much better. The ‘after-life’ bit just ruins things and the long runtime doesn’t help. For young viewers, the plot promotes some twisted notions of love and loss – like making you think waiting for the ghost of your loved one to help you get closure is a great idea.

It’s a 5/10 from me. You can stream the film on Netflix if a sappy romance is your weakness.

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