The Others (2001)
Main cast: Nicole Kidman (Grace), Fionnula Flanagan (Mrs Bertha Mills), Christopher Eccleston (Charles), Elaine Cassidy (Lydia), Eric Sykes (Mr Edmund Tuttle), Alakina Mann (Anne), and James Bentley (Nicholas)
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
The Others is a horror film. It's also a drama, with a twist at the ending, but somehow it doesn't make me scream "The Sixth Sense bandwagon is full, dammit, get off, GET OFF!" I'm too busy staring at the TV screen (yes, I'm watching a pirated version of this movie, so sue me) in delight/shock.
The movie is all about atmosphere, scary Gothic atmosphere, and one's neuroses run wild. Grace, played with delicious Artic chill by Nicole Kidman (Mr G: not that she can act any other way), is a lonely widow who lives in a big house with 50 doors with her two children Grace and Nicholas. She tries to be a good mother, reading them the Bible and all, but she is fast losing the battle with her acute loneliness and yearning for her late husband Charles (who was killed in WW2 - or was he?). One day, three new servants arrive - Mrs Mills, Mr Tuttle, and the mute Lydia - to replace the last three that disappeared one night never to be seen again. Grace shows the house and tells them the rule: there are 50 doors in this house, and all the door must be locked as soon as one walks through it. The reason is that the two kids are allergic to sunlight. The house must be kept in dark except for candlelight at all times.
Soon Anne reveals that she is talking to a boy called Victor, one no one else can see. And next thing you know, ghosts are running wild all over the house, but no one but Anne can see them. What is going on?
There is no hero or heroine in The Others: everyone has secrets. Grace isn't a bad mother, but she isn't a good one either. The two kids are irritating as hell. Even the house staff are creepy and have their own agendas. Everything hurtles towards a scary and emotionally explosive climax at the late legs of the movie.
Creepy, scary, and downright mesmerizing, The Others has its greatest assets in the stark, large creepy set, the brilliant cinematography, and Kidman's marvelous iciness, where only her eyes express how terrified or angry she is. In a way, I am as lost in this movie as the characters are, and the subtle yet effective blend of fear, paranoia, and distrust the movie evokes so well makes this one a really creepy movie. The real ghosts here aren't those of the floating, see-through "Ooh, ooh, ooh" type, they are our darkest obsessions and neuroses.
Perfect for a night's scare.
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