Raphael Pour-Hashemi has reviewed the theatrical release of The Others.
A fantastic horror story with spine-tingling tension and a refreshing lack of CGI effects. Go see it now and be scared!
It had to happen eventually. A time would come for a horror film to completely abandon CGI effects and gimmickry and instead concentrate on the raw mechanics of a first-rate chiller. The Others is that film, and grips the viewer by the neck not with aesthetics but with mere story.
Set in 1945, The Others tells of a young woman named Grace (Nicole Kidman) who has retired/confined herself and her two young children to live in a Jersey mansion whilst waiting/hoping for her husband to return from fighting the war. The huge, looming mansion is too much to handle for a temporarily single mother, and so some servants are hired – Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan) the nanny, Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes in an odd yet inspired casting choice) the gardener and Lydia (Elaine Cassidy), a mute maid. Upon arrival at the mansion, the servants are greeted with some bizarre rule by Grace, and find the young mother to be highly neurotic. Grace states that each of the 50 or so doors that are contained within the house must be locked before another can be opened. The large looming curtains must always be drawn when the children are awake. Grace explains that this is necessary because Anne and Nicholas, her two children, are so allergic to the sunlight that horrible spores surface on their skin and they might die if exposed to it. The servants soon settle in and learn to live with the highly-strung Grace and her strange rules, although it soon becomes apparent to Grace that there are ‘others’ in the house, and the servants find this hard to believe, even though the evidence does suggest something of supernatural origins.
Unfortunately for anyone reading a review of The Others, not much of the plot can be given away. However, it can be said that the scripting and directing by talented newcomer Alejandro Amenabar is superb, and he clearly will give M. Night Shyamalan a run for his money in the suspense field in future. Amenabar never, ever panders to special effects, and gives the film the perfect amount of pacing and atmosphere, and lets his story unfold naturally. The ending is so satisfying and so unexpected, that it belongs on a similar level with The Usual Suspects, Fight Club and The Sixth Sense, and the film would be perfect if not for the inclusion of one epilogue too many.
Nicole Kidman is starting to show that she can be treated seriously as an actress, and she is brilliant in The Others, with the spot on mad yet menacing yet fragile take on her character Grace. Now that she’s finally been cut loose from that ego maniac who starred in Mission: Impossible II her credibility appears to be restoring. On a tip-for-the-future note, young Alakina Mann who plays Grace’s daughter Anne, is tremendously cheeky, and does an excellent job at portraying a daughter confused by the mad antics of her mother. The cinematography is wonderfully eerie, casting a misty green gloom over the proceedings, and director Amenabar exploits this fully.
The Others is the utmost encapsulation of entertaining horror and is fully deserving of anyone’s cinema money. It won’t appeal to the Kevin Williamson generation of teen shockers, but it will appeal to the purists amongst us who still think films such as the sixties version of The Haunting is a classic.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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