So effective is writer-director Alejandro Amenábar's manipulation of the viewer's psyche that his English language debut -- a seriously goosepimply homage to old-school haunted house movies entitled "The Others" -- would be unshakably bone-chilling even if you blacked out everything on the screen except Nicole Kidman's porcelain face, her eyes frozen wide with fear.
The scariest parts of this movie -- which takes place in an creaky, empty estate house on the eerily foggy English Channel of Jersey just after World War II -- have no music, no special effects, no bleeding walls, rattling furniture, claps of thunder or flashes of lightning. The scariest parts of this movie consist, quite simply, of Kidman and her two children becoming frightened out of their wits by the very presence of unseen spirits that have come to occupy their home.
For all practical purposes, Grace (Kidman) is trapped in this house because her two children (Alakina Mann and James Bentley) are fatally allergic to sunlight, and she spends her days obsessed with their protection, closing heavy curtains and locking doors of any room they enter to prevent even a sliver of light from invading. Without a car or telephone since the occupying Nazis abandoned the island, the family would be helpless if not for the coincidental arrival of three new servants (the old staff recently vanished without explanation) who came round looking for work because they'd served at the house under a previous owner.
Continue reading: The Others Review
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