The Others is directed and written by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston, Elaine Cassidy, Eric Sykes, Alakina Mann & James Bentley. Amenábar also scores the music and the cinematography is by Javier Aguirresarobe. Plot sees Kidman as Grace Stewart , the mother of two children who have an allergy to sunlight. With her husband still missing in action during WWII, Grace and the children reside in a remote mansion on the isle of Jersey. When one day a trio of house servants turn up looking to fill the vacancies at the mansion, it coincides with strange supernatural occurrences around the home. Are the children being mischievous? Is Grace losing her mind? Or is there indeed something not of this world at work?
The haunted house creeper has had a number of film version tellings over the years. A different kind of horror film, it's a sub-genre that relies on suggestion and atmospheric shocks instead of rampant blood letting. The Others is one of the finest of its type, a wonderfully crafted chiller that thrives on old fashioned values to deliver its scares. The set up is standard formula stuff, a big gloomy mansion that's nice and remote with rolling gardens and finds itself often cloaked by impenetrable fog. A couple of cherubic kids, classically inviting creepy activity, and servants that have foreboding written all over their respective foreheads. Throw into the pot the lonely female trying to hold her self together as things threaten to unhinge the family bond, and it's so far so formulaic. But Amenábar, for his English language debut, has a great sense of mood and pacing, slowly unwinding the coil to reveal a sense of impending doom, playing it out amongst eerie sounds and deft camera movements about the house. That the kiddies have a light sensitive problem gives Amenábar the perfect excuse to keep the whole thing dimly lit: to great eerie effect.
With unease in place and the small band of characters firmly established, the other key element of the film starts to kick in, namely the mystery element. Just what exactly is going on here? The children, excellently played by debutants Mann & Bentley, garner much sympathy, but at the same time we suspect they might be at fault for the ghostly activity. The servants are led by the officious looking, but gently spoken, Bertha Mills (Flanagan superb), you sense something isn't quite right but all cards are played close to the chest so as to not reveal anything. So much so that when the reveal does come, it's a doozy, firmly rounding out The Others as a classic of its type. The trump card here, tho, is Kidman. Pale faced and cold to the eye, she nails the plummy English accent whilst turning in a classic performance of a repressed woman battling against-it seems-everything and everyone. Following in the footsteps of Deborah Kerr and Julie Harris, Kidman's ability to make Grace's mental disintegration believable marks it out as one of the best horror sub-genre performances ever.
Suspense, scares and some tricks up its sleeve, The Others is every inch a quality bit of psychological horror. 9/10
This is a superb, atmospheric ghost story that will have the viewer thinking right from the get go. There are things afoot here that go bump in the night, but it may not be what the viewer thinks.
On the Isle of Jersey, during the last days of World War II, a lovely, isolated mansion sits in the shrouding mists. The house is adequately, though sparsely, furnished. It is occupied by a mother, Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), and her two children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley). The children are afflicted with a great sensitivity to light, so much so that they must, at all times, have the curtains drawn and the shutters closed. Grace's husband, the children's father, had left them to fight in the war. This is a perfect and stark setting for what is to come.
One day, three strangers arrive on her doorstep. Grace presumes that they are there in response to her post for domestic help and hires Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), and Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) on the spot. Grace instructs them on the ideosyncratic ways she has of handling her children's sensitivity to light. It soon becomes clear, however, that this triumvirate has their own agenda and are not strangers to this house.
Nicole Kidman give a remarkable performance in this film. Tightly wound and controlling, she appears to be a woman on the brink of a breakdown, holding herself together only by a great effort of will, as she awaits her husband's return. Her performance as a lonely wife and seemingly protective mother contributes greatly to the tense and suspenseful atmosphere in the household. While I am not generally a fan of Ms. Kidman's, finding her ice maiden demeanor to be too cool for my tastes, even I must agree that her performance in this film is superlative and contributes greatly to its overall success.
The children both give excellent performances. It is the young boy, James Bentley, however, who deserves special mention. He shines in the role of Nicholas, giving a sensitive performance that conveys his pervasive fear of what seems to be going on in the household. It is a poignant and moving performance that will capture the viewer's heart.
Christopher Eccleston is marvelous in the role of Grace's husband and the children's father, who returns all too briefly, like a deus ex machina, conveying an infinite and bitterweet sadness that only adds to the disturbing portents that seem to be gathering about the Stewart household. Eccleston is an outstanding actor who manages to contribute greatly to the film in this small, but pivotal, role.
It is, however, Fionnula Flanagan in the role of the mysterious housekeeper, Bertha Mills, who steals the show. She is like the voice crying in the wilderness to those who will not hear her message. Strong and commanding in her performance, it is she, and not Nicole Kidman, who is the backbone of this film. Her presence lends such an eerie and discordant note, that one feels her presence to be that of a harbinger of doom. Yet, things are not all that they seem in this household, as the ending has a surprising twist to it.
This wonderful and highly atmospheric ghost story is one that is sure to delight those appreciative of this genre of film. Intelligent and finely crafted, it reveals an eerie story borne of psychological despair and horror. Beautifully directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it succeeds where others have failed. Relying on well nuanced moments, rather than grotesque special effects, this is a film that is sure to withstand the test of time and emerge as a classic. Bravo!
on 21 June 2006
This is an original look at ghosts and death. I found it less dark than the trailer suggested, and relied more on confusion of the characters and the audience. This made it much more watchable than if it had relied on mere shock tactics, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nicole Kidman's character is desperately trying to seize control of her situation but failing as she spirals into deeper confusion. Her acting is strong and relies heavily on gasping in suprise effectively. The kids act well and an appearance by Christopher Ecclestone adds weight.
The storyline makes this movie, and while it fails to terrify (good - expect a bit more than shock horror) the twist at the end and how you see the rest of the events in light of this makes it an effective film.
It left me wondering whether it could all be true. Well, maybe.....
on 2 December 2002
To put things frankly, the others is one of the most though provoking films, not just from the horror genre that has come about recently. It is a great movie when looked at from all angles providing a great storyline accompanied perfectly with superb acting performences all around.
It is good to see a horror film these days that doesn't rely on blood and guts to scare it's audience and 'The Others' definately falls under the catagory of films which frighten due to the acting, atmosphere and generally spooky occurences.
The film is set in Jersey towards the end of the second world war in what is most certainly a perfect setting for any horror movie, a large, isolated mansion surrounded by thick masses of fog. The movie is made very dark and atmospheric explained by mother Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman)'s children having an allergic reaction to any forms of bright light therefore resulting in the permanent closure of all gaps with a potential entrance of sunlight making everything extremely dark and creepy and very good circumstances for what is to come.
The film directs you into asking questions early on in the plot with mysterious happenings and appearences in which people are not as such damaged physically but mentally whilst provided only terror of a psychologically factor.
Nicole Kidman performs superbly like she never has in the past, playing her role perfectly allowing the audience to completely understand her situation and personality, you easily notice the development of her mental state and at times she actually seems quite a creepy character. Both children performed amazingly well despite the obvious experience disadvantage because of their ages. James Bentley playing the youngest child- Nicholas was in my opinion the highlight of the two, showing his fear of the ghostly happenings like a gem with some brilliant expressions and sensitivity.
The 3 'helpers' seemed very dodgy right from the start presenting themselves in a particularly strange yet scary manner, especially Fionulla Flanagan in the role of Bertha Mills who acted very well and basically carried the story along and brought it to it's eventual conclusion which was very intelligently crafted with a nice and suprising twist added.
The film often had brilliant camera angles which made things a lot creepier sometimes giving the common horror feeling of 'it's what you don't see that scares you rather than what you do see', I found that this worked very well in 'The Others' making it eerier and more disturbing.
Although the twist at the end was very spooky and though provoking I found that it was fairly predictable with various clues on the matter being scattered about in the film. Maybe this film is not for those who are after an instant gore fest and a movie with no such storyline to follow, just a knife and lots of fake blood.
'The Others' is instead a true horror film with a lot of depth and intelligence is need to understand all of the true happenings throughout. The script has been well written and performed to a perfection in such a quality which many horror films lack. It has been directed to become a classic and that is should do. I wouldn't generally recommend this however to a young child as I would say that it is worthy of it's 12 certification despite the fact that there is no blood, swearing etc in the film whatsoever. Great film which deserves to be watched.
on 2 October 2005
Unlike most scary films that start terrifyingly well before descending into a ridiculous sequence of violence and gore, 'The Others' sticks to its gripping and tense atmosphere the whole way. It is based on a frail woman named Grace (Nicole Kidman) who is coping on her own with her two children who have a severe allergy to light. This makes the film even creepier as it plays around with candlelight and darkness. Grace's husband (Christopher Eccleston) is fighting in world war two at this time and her many servants have mysteriously disappeared in the night which leaves the insecure woman to teach and look after her children by herself. Three new mysterious servants arrive at the house, but what Grace doesn't know is what they are hiding from her. Her daughter, Anne, tells her of seeing people, whom she calls the intruders, in the house. Her mother refuses to believe this at first but soon finds herself amongst whispering voices, pianos playing by themselves, and doors closing and opening on their own. She encounters one terrifying incident with her daughter which will leave you either screaming or clinging on to whoever's beside you. The film keeps viewers very scared until its shocking twist at the end. This is one of the few films that survives without a single drop of blood, the horror is purely psychological and rather destressing to certain exctent. Nicole Kidman shows her real talent, forcing the viewers to endure the terror with her. Everyone must see this masterpiece if they wish to see Nicole Kidman at her best and a disturbingly excellent storyline.
Very strong ghost story, with excellent performances and clever twists. Frightening without ever being obvious,
and I appreciate that it stresses atmosphere, character and subtlety over 'cats jumping from closets' type easy jolts,
Probably the closest analog in feel is the 60s classic 'The Innocents'. Some very smart and unexpected turns, and a
lot of real emotion for this genre. Nicole Kidman is great, as are the two kids playing her children
A smashingly entertaining, stylish haunted house thriller.
The blu-ray is a notable step up in clarity and color.
on 20 August 2003
I originally saw ‘The Others’ at a cinema and the atmosphere is stunning which helps to draw you into the film, it moves at quite a slow pace which I feel adds to the story and the atmosphere of the film. The characters are very believable and they are all acted very well. There are some twists and turns, which I will not go into detail so not to spoil the story and there are some jumpy moments that put you on the edge of your seat, as the film goes on the tension builds more and more keeping you interested and scared.
The film is directed by Alejandro Amenábar, and is a story about ghosts with a traditional feel about it. Nicole Kidman stars as Grace who has two children that have to live in darkness because of their sensitivity to light, this is a perfect setting for a ghost story film that is shot in dark candlelit rooms. The mother and Children live in there dark house with three servants where strange things start to happen, the children start to show there fear while the mother who is highly religious disapproves of there behaviour and punishes them for it!
There are a few extras on the DVD: A Visual Effects feature, Director's interview, special feature on Xeroderma Pigmentosum a documentary of a family with children who have a light sensitivity disorder.
If you are into fast paced films with blood and gore this is not a film for you. On the other hand if you enjoy a well made film that has a good story with lots of atmosphere and enjoys a few scares then this may be a film for you. I think it is a film that you ether enjoy or will hate, if you get the chance, watch it or buy it. I definitely enjoyed it.
on 23 January 2012
Despite being ten years old, Alejandro Amenabar's 'The Other's' has emerged as a strong and excellently played out tale of ghosts, mystery and chills since it's release in 2001.
Living in virtual isolation in their mansion in the aftermath of World War II Grace (Nicole Kidman) and her two children live alone amidst a complex set of rules designed to protect the children from sunlight, due to a rare photosensitivity they have. When three servants arrive at the house an increasingly odd series of events begins to occur. As Grace becomes more and more suspicious of the servants motives, she must fight for both herself and her children against something she cannot yet understand.
With strong shades of 'The Turn of the Screw' and 'The Innocents' underpinning it 'The Others' is nonetheless a very well written and executed tale of a haunted house with an excellent leading performance from Nicole Kidman. Using classic ghost story motifs and tricks, Amenabar skillfully tightens the tension grip until the final climax of the film when all is revealed. And even without a drop of bloodshed it still packs a punch in the scares department. That said, the two child actors are also excellent and Fionnula Flannagan plays her role well as the servants role in events becomes clearer.
A top notch quality ghost story. The Blu-ray transfer appears to have been nicely done but this isn't a lavishly visual effects based story so it's harder to tell. Picture quality certainly did appear to have the expected sharpness though. Extras have been transferred over just as they were on the original 2 disc DVD edition of the film which means that you get a 20-odd minute behind the scenes, a visual effects comparison and a ten minute feature highlighting a real couple whose child suffers from the condition the film's children suffer from. Essentially, watch once and then forget style extras.
on 19 October 2002
I must say that the slow pace of The Others did threaten to put me off watching after the first ten minutes or so, but I was soon captivated and spellbound by this very unique and original take on the classic ghost story.
It's interesting to watch such a haunting and ultimately sad tale set within this genre and for the normal goodie/baddie, dead/living viewer sympathies to be messed around with in such a creative manner.
The cast were superb, but top marks to the director for serving up such a chilling air of suspense and mystery. A real good old fashioned "don't watch alone" style thriller. No blood, guts or gore involved in this movie, just noiresque photography and lighting together with a constant sense of wondering what's happening, make The Others a classic of it's kind.
Very impressed to find out this was largely a Spanish production too. How did they make sunny Spain look so gloomy ?
A much more subtle and captivating approach to this subject than The Sixth Sense, Altogether a better film.
You must watch it!
This 2001 gothic supernatural thriller is set in Jersey,1945. Deeply religious Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) lives with her two photosensitive young children, Anne and Nicholas, in a remote country house. Grace hires three servants but Anne says she sees and talks to another boy called Victor, but despite hearing strange noises in the house, Grace cannot find the "intruders", so who or what is causing the commotion?
Although a ‘modern’ film, this does have a 1940’s production ‘feel’ to it and what it lacks in pace, makes up for in atmosphere. The dark gloomy interiors add to the claustrophobia, as do the mainly sepia tones and there are plenty of intense moments, helped by some atmospheric music and sound effects.
The first disc holds the film with a play, scene selection and subtitles option. The second disc holds the extras, commentaries and such like.
With very mild swearing, some implied sex and with no blood or gore, this easily rates a 12 age classification, but it’s by no means lame, containing some good jumpy moments. Even though I’d figured out the main premise long before the mid point, the sub plots explaining the various turns of events kept this engrossing as Grace struggles to come to terms with her ‘faith’, beliefs and the events around her. Powerful viewing for a 12 year old, this may not have the gore and horror for the seasoned modern horror fan.