What a refreshing thing to see: a classy, creepy and effective 'ghost story' in this age of CGI poltergeists and fake, hollow scares. If the recent remakes of The Haunting, 13 Ghosts and The House on Haunted Hill have turned you off to the "ghost flick", then this is the movie for you.Generally when you refer to a movie as "old-fashioned", that's a polite way of saying the film is outdated, campy or trite. But in the case of Alejandro Amenabar's fantastic new film, "old-fashioned" is intended as high praise. Rarely have modern horror films been able to re-capture the "eerie silences" so prevalent in the classic haunted house tales of yesteryear. Thanks to a deft directorial hand, a wonderful attention to detail and some gloriously entertaining performances, The Others ranks among the best movies of the year.
The setting is a massive mansion in the years following WWII. The lady of the house is Grace, a beautiful woman who is waiting patiently for her husband to return home from the war. Grace has two young children (Anne and Nicholas), both of whom suffer from a severe aversion to sunlight. The family has recently been deserted by their staff of servants, and Grace is relieved when a new trio of employees arrive at the house.
As Grace tries to raise and educate her children, Anne proves to be a source of frustration. The young girl claims to have seen 'others' roaming about the cavernous hallways, and this news irritates Grace (and her ultra-religious sensibilities) to no end. Of course the new housekeeper, Mrs. Mills, knows a lot about the house's history that she's not willing to share.
It's uncommon for movies these days to really absorb the viewer, but The Others succeeds at this quite capably. From the opening scenes (in which Grace lets loose with a bone-chilling shriek) you'll be sucked in to the simple, yet somewhat askew, plot threads and there are more than a few good jolts along the way.
Nicole Kidman delivers one of her finest performances to date as the haunted Grace, and the child actors portraying her kids (Alakina Mann and James Bentley) are nothing short of sensational. Christopher Eccleston does a bang-up job in a small role (the less said about in a review the better) and Fionnoula Flanagan is terrific as the mysterious Mrs. Mills.
Perhaps a bit too "slow-moving" for the hardcore hack-and-slash crowd, The Others is simply a fantastic campfire tale of a movie, delivered with impeccable style and solid sense of outright "creepiness". It's a film that delivers a solid bang for those who've paid attention throughout, and is one of the best horror flicks to come out of Hollywood in some time.And I smell an Oscar nomination for Kidman's work in this one. You heard it here first.