Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The Others (2001)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 104 minutes

I vaguely remember renting this movie with my mother from Blockbuster. I remember enjoying it quite a lot back then and being very impressed with the conclusion of the movie as well as my mother. It was a good and different movie for the time. So, does it still hold up in my mind?

A woman named Grace retires with her two children to a mansion on Jersey, towards the end of the Second World War, where she's waiting for her husband to come back from battle. The children have a disease which means they cannot be touched by direct sunlight without being hurt in some way. They will live alone there with oppressive, strange and almost religious rules, until she needs to hire a group of servants for them. Their arrival will accidentally begin to break the rules with unexpected consequences. [source: IMDb]

The Others was another great contribution to ghost stories in cinema. With a fantastic cast, it wasn't hard to be sucked into their world and become part of their daily routine. Nicole Kidman plays the overprotective and traditionally religious mother Grace Stewart and she does an amazing job delivering a great range of emotions and allowing us to care about her children almost as much as she does. The child actors also do just as amazing job making us care about them and pulling the viewer further into the story. Watching these children do their lessons made me feel bad for them and they're barely allowed to be children, since Grace is so strict with them. I understand that they're sensitive to the sunlight, but they deserve a little fun every now and then. The hired help also do a great job as supporting characters. Most of them get minimal screen time, but they play just as big of a part as Kidman's character and the children, especially Mrs. Bertha Mills. Lastly, the set pieces and costumes really pull you into the era of this movie. You can easily feel the despair and fear that lingers in this large household as subtly strange things happen around the mansion.

Since the movie came out before the era of fast pace storylines and jump scares, the newer generation of horror fans may find themselves impatient with this slow pace storytelling, then again those who enjoy movies before that era may feel the same as well. This nearly two hour suspense thriller definitely feels like a two hour suspense thriller. Though the story depends on such atmospheric pacing and intricacies. It has to fill important holes such as the relationship Grace has with her work staff, her children, and her husband to really pull the audience into believing everything that happens in front and around them. While I understand the choice for this speed of storytelling and have the patience for it, I do wish that they would either condense certain detailed explanations or pick up the pace a little bit. Fortunately, the acting and content make up for the slightly poor pacing and offer the audience a very satisfying and perhaps jaw dropping conclusion.

The Others is a great suspense thriller that contributes to the haunted house genre in a very positive way. Not only does Nicole Kidman deliver a solid performance as the overbearing mother Grace, but the children and house servants contribute greatly to the story and successfully pull its audience into the strange happenings of the mansion. The atmosphere is perfectly chilling and sorrowful with a bit of richness. I definitely recommend this movie if you want a change of pace from the usual "Paranormal Activities" and exorcisms of the 2010s. The twist will definitely get you.

Rating: 3.5/5

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