The horror genre has been dwindling lately, so it is only expected that it should go back to its roots, namely haunted house films. The genre has unsuccessfully tried to reclaim the glamour of haunted house movies in recent years with such films as The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill, none of which really established anything great.
The Others, on the hand, is a truly creepy film with great acting by Nicole Kidman, and will probably end up in the top five summer movies of 2001 (not like there is much competition).
The movie is about a rather cold woman who lives in a large mansion with her two sheltered children, who are deathly allergic to sunlight. So, basically, The Others escapes the problem that so many horror movies have with the calm in the daylight and scary at night dilemma, which causes an inconsistent amount of creepiness, and has us in the dark the entire time, leaving us breathless most of the time. The kids start seeing the ghosts before Kidman does, but when she does it really gets creepy.
The Others does not make the mistake that The Haunting did by relying on computer graphics. It looks fine, but at the same time it is done on a really slow budget. It relies on sound, creaking doors, and so forth to scare the audience, and honestly, it does a pretty good job. There are a few really jumpy scenes, but the rest of the movie is just suspenseful, as you never know when something is going to pop out. Actually, in one scene, nothing does pop out but a sound ricochets around the theater and does the pant-wetting job really well.
Kidman has done two great movies this summer, the other one being Moulin Rouge. Here she plays a drastically different character from that showgirl routine, and turns in a beautifully realistic performance. She really makes us believe that she is scared.
The only weak link, I think, is how the three servants are used towards the end of the movie. The dialogue exchanged between them seems two straight forward and anticlimactic.
Of course, that is made up by a great ending, which is a little more predictable than that in The Sixth Sense, but still along the same lines. Either way, it is a really well done ending that makes the audience think a little bit.
The Others is a surprise gem in a forgettable summer, and should not be overlooked.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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