Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Movie Review: "The Others" (2001)

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Movie"The Others"
Director: Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar
Year: 2001
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Three servants come to the home of Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) seeking employment. Grace lives with her two children Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), and she hasn't seen her husband since he left to fight in the war several years prior. Grace takes the servants on a tour of the house and lays down the ground rules for them. She explains that her children have an allergy to sunlight and that simple exposure can cause them to break out in blisters and even kill them, so the house must remain dark at all times. Shortly after the servants begin working there, strange things start to happen: unexplained noises, voices, doors and curtains opening on their own, etc. Anne starts seeing a little boy and and old woman roaming the house. It appears the house may be haunted, but Grace is devoutly religious and refuses to accept such things. As things get worse, she starts to realize that she may have no choice but to believe they are haunted, and that maybe her servants aren't quite who they say they are. 

Who knew there was such a thing as a decent PG-13 horror film!?

"The Others" is an interesting dramatic ghost story. There isn't any gore or graphic blood in this film, which is not a bad thing. There aren't even a lot of jump scares or boo moments. There is a subtlety to its storytelling, as well as its build-up. Instead of being just like the rest of the horror movies out there, this film relies on setting its mood through music, lighting, and nervous energy. It works by slowing building tension throughout the film, piling more and more stress, fear, and uncertainty onto Grace and her children, gradually leading up to its ultimate climax.

Nicole Kidman puts on an excellent performance, showing a good combination of a stern, overbearing and over-stressed mother, mixed with unconditional love and the desire to protect her children as only a mother could. Fionnula Flanagan also does a fine job as head servant and nanny Mrs. Mills. She has a strength and understanding about her and it always feels like she's the smartest person in the room. But, there are also hints throughout the movie that she is always hiding something and that she may be slightly deceptive. The movie relies a lot on the strength of these two performances, though Grace's son and daughter, played by Alakina Mann and James Bentley, have great chemistry as bickering siblings, but also as siblings who cannot stand to be apart from one another.

It definitely does help to watch this movie in the dark, few of any and all distractions. This helps match feel of the film and makes its delivery that much more effective. Overall, we really like this horror movie, even if relies more on the story and acting, as well is the compelling cast of characters and tension building, rather than blood and gore, or lack thereof.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Sinister"

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