The Others (12)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/02/2001

Three out of five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Highly atmospheric, effectively creepy chiller, with a superb performance from Nicole Kidman.

The Others is only the third film from 29 year-old Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, who made Open Your Eyes (recently remade by Tom Cruise as Vanilla Sky and due out soon). It's already become the second-highest-grossing American film in Spain (after Titanic) and was an unexpected hit in the States, so there‚s a very good chance it will do equally well over here.

The film is set at the end of the Second World War. Nicole Kidman plays Grace, a mother who moves into a large mansion on the isle of Jersey with her two children, in order to wait for her husband to return from the war.

However, the children suffer from a rare photo-sensitive disease, meaning that they can never be exposed to sunlight, so Grace hires three servants (including, bizarrely, Eric Sykes) to look after the house while she attends to the children. Soon, however, the children begin to hear voices and see strange figures, and Grace gradually comes to suspect that her house may be haunted.

The Others is an old-fashioned chiller, dispensing with Hollywood-style special-effects in favour of a genuinely creepy atmosphere, which is heightened by the claustrophobic set-up and by Amenabar's superb use of darkness. Indeed, if you were scared of the dark as a child, then this movie has your name on it.

The acting is excellent - Kidman is perfectly cast as the initially over-bearing mother (insisting to the servants that the rooms remain locked at all times and so on) and yet retaining the sympathy of the audience. It's a superb performance, and one that could just net her an Oscar nomination come February.

The supporting cast are also excellent, particularly Alakina Mann (superb) and James Bentley as her children, but also Fionnula Flannagan as Bertha, the house-keeper.

The film isn't entirely without flaws - a sequence featuring Christopher Ecclestone is entirely unnecessary for example, and it's a little slow in places - but on the whole, it's an effectively creepy chiller that will keep you guessing to the end. Worth watching.

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The Others (12)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 12:03

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