Newest Review: ... things start to happen. Anne appears to be seeing people who aren't there, and Grace feels that aside from herself, the children and the... more
What's happening in the dark old house?
The Others (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
The Others (DVD)
Advantages: Very sleek production, well-acted, creepy, interesting
Disadvantages: The ending for me was a bit of a let-down
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 102 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY/MUSIC: Alejandro Amenabar
PRODUCERS: Fernando Bovaira, Jose Luis Cuerda & Sunmin Park
Nicole Kidman as Grace
Alakina Mann as Anne
James Bentley as Nicholas
Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs Mills
Elaine Cassidy as Lydia
Eric Sykes as Mr Tuttle
Christopher Eccleston as Charles
FILM ONLY REVIEW
The film is set in Jersey just a little while after the end of World War II, and Grace lives with her two children, Nicholas and Anne, in a huge, old house isolated in the countryside. Grace's husband hasn't returned from fighting in the war, and he is missing, presumed dead.
Three people turn up at the house, apparently offering themselves up as servants. After giving them the once-over, Grace decides to let them stay and work for her. Lydia is a young mute girl who seems nervous and scared, Mrs Mills is a wise-seeming elderly Irish lady and Mr Tuttle is an elderly grey-haired man. Also, the trio appears to know one another. Grace instructs Lydia and Mrs Mills to help her around the house, and informs Mr Tuttle that he will be in charge of gardening duties. The three new servants are given strict instructions to make sure all rooms are kept in darkness with curtains drawn and only weak oil lamps for illumination, as Nicholas and Anne have an illness which causes them to be hypersensitive to light - over-exposure to light could kill them.
After a while, strange things start to happen. Anne appears to be seeing people who aren't there, and Grace feels that aside from herself, the children and the servants, they are not alone in the house.
Although the storyline for The Others is set in Jersey, the filming location and the huge house is apparently in Spain. All of the dialogue is spoken in English, but the writer/director and producers appear to be of Latin origin, and as far as I'm concerned, that definitely adds a different touch to this quite spooky story and the way the film is put together....somehow it has a different, somewhat more compelling atmosphere than most American or British movies of this genre.
The scene is set very well and right away, exudes an air of chilling mystery as Grace, the mother who does love her children but is very strict and religious, coldly barks out orders to her new staff....Lydia the mute girl, Mrs Mills the kindly-seeming Irish lady and Mr Tuttle the new gardener.
All of the acting from the whole main cast is very good, particularly that of Nicole Kidman...she manages to exude a clipped, curt, sometimes almost icy persona, which is sprinkled with something softer on the rare occasions that she expresses affection towards her children. I also loved the acting from Alakina Mann and James Bentley as Anne and Nicholas respectively, each one managing to excellent and very appropriate facial expressions in accordance with whatever was going on in the film at any given moment.
I also loved the kindly Mirs Mills played by Fionnula Flanagan....a watchful, gently spoken lady with a lovely soft Irish brogue, and I was drawn to the fact that right from her first appearance in the film, it's a guessing game as to whether she's a caring, mumsy type or whether there could be something sinister lurking underneath her wise and homely veneer.
The Others is quite a creepy film, pretty much all the way through....not from a sword-brandishing maniac on the loose aspect, but chilling and deliciously scary here and there from the point of view of things that go bump not just at night but in the daytime too, and the feeling of there being an unseen presence. However, is this unseen presence merely a figment of Grace's and Anne's imaginations, or is there something lurking in the shadows of the old dark house? Why can't Lydia speak, and how is it that Mr Tuttle and Mrs Mills don't need to be shown around as they already know the house layout?
The film score is very appropriate, made up of fairly quiet, slightly avant-garde orchestral music which serves to enhance the creepier moments of the film very appropriately.
There are a few points in The Others where I did feel quite spooked, and I jumped almost out of my skin a couple of times. I do actually find films of this nature create greater levels of unease within me than slasher-type horror productions, as it's all about things unseen that can't be confronted head on.
The Others is more of a classic, old-fashioned type ghost story which is very refreshing to watch as there is no blood, no gore, no axes, scissors, scalpels or any other flesh-slaying implements used at all.....plus, almost at the end of the film, there is a very interesting twist which I certainly didn't see coming. However, I did feel a little let down by the absolute ending...I have no idea what I would have liked as an alternative, but how it stands didn't exactly complement the whole build-up somehow.
I'd also like to have seen more of Christopher Eccleston's character Charles, as I felt his role could have been weaved more intricately into the storyline, but the little we do see of him is superbly well-acted.
All in all, I very much recommend The Others, and feel certain that it would appeal to lovers of spooky films which are done in traditional style and that concentrate on character building and a decent storyline rather than going way overboard with bloodlust and sensationalism. This is a very professionally put together, sleek production that is well-acted and gripping throughout....don't watch it just before going to bed though if you are of an easily creeped-out disposition!
At the time of writing, The Others can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £4.58 to £13.97
Used: only one copy currently available @ £8.58
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A very good, traditional-style spook-filled mystery