Retro Review: The Others

It will be forever known as the “next Sixth Sense” but what a lot of movie goers may forget is that “The Others” takes the concept a step further.

“The Others” opens with three estranged servants approaching a giant manor during the tail end of World War II. They believe they can find work if they just approach such a large estate.

Upon their arrival, the servants are quickly invited in. A tall thin lady of the house named Grace (Nicole Kidman) seems to have been looking for servants to replace hers that have disappeared. Grace begins to tell them about the “rules” of the house.

Rule #1 states that every door must be closed before another is opened as you move about the house.

Rule #2 says that all the blinds and curtains must be closed at all times. Grace claims that these rules keep her children safe and that her children suffer from a skin illness that leaves them ultra sensitive to light.

As the servants start to settle in they begin to realize that the house may harbor a hidden secret. What is that secret? What has gone on in this house before? Are there intruders lurking about the house?

“The Others” amalgamates the concepts of old English ghost thrillers, like the “original” Haunting and the plot twists of the Sixth Sense to create a whole new original horror concept. This new concept is original and can be very shocking at times. The director doesn’t throw a roller coaster of thrills at you but instead delivers quite a somber film. The somber and subtly allow the actors and audience to become closer to the situations which in turn makes the horror more interesting.

As the shadows dance and blend over the walls and faces within film, “The Others” conveys a “noir” feel. If the film had been shot in “black-and-white” it would have been an incredible sight. It may have been even more captivating.

Nicole Kidman gives the performance of her career as the over protective and often paranoid mother. The Grace character is a “control freak” and it is brilliant as we watch Kidman slowly show the mother lose that control. She also would have been incredible to see in “black-and-white”.

Her hairstyle and clothing echo the times and some of the camera shots reminded me of the femme fatales of 1940s cinema. I also absolutely loved Kidman in this film and she definitely deserves an Oscar nomination.

You also have to hand it to the casting members of the film who found these children. The film really works on so many levels because of them. Wow, are they quite the find. Maybe the casting agents for the Harry Potter films will see these children and give them mainstream exposure.

“The Others” isn’t for everyone as it is slow and there are a lot of shadowy camera angles. But if you can stick with it there is a logic and hidden meaning to the story that is worth seeing.

(4 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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