Horror thrillers like The Others are seldom ever entertaining for most conventional audiences. These films solely exist for the purpose of keeping the suspense going throughout their entire runtime. They are built on the slow and steady exposition of their story content and then use it to create some of the most haunting and breathtakingly intense climaxes that you can find in film.
This genre thrives on its peculiarity, and it’s precisely why a film such as The Others is so incredibly well done as a project. The film takes its time but it doesn’t linger for random moments, as Alejandro Amenabar takes this opportunity to prove himself as a tour de force in the thriller genre.
How to Download The Others
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like Nicole Kidman, check her out also in The Northman as Queen Gudrun, in Aquaman as Queen Atlanna, or in How to Talk to Girls at Parties as Queen Boadicea.
The Movie Review
In Jersey, a small island off the coast of Normandy, a mismatched band of houseworkers (Fionnula Flanagan, Elaine Cassidy, and Eric Sykes) reach a remote rural estate shortly after the war of ‘45. Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) employs the three and explains the peculiar scenario in the house.
Her husband hasn’t yet returned from the war and she has recently been deserted by her long-time servants. Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), Grace’s children, are photosensitive, which means that sunshine makes them sick. Because of this, the blinds are always drawn, and each door is locked separately to try to avoid any unintentional exposure to daylight. In the dark and dreary house, every creak of the floorboards and gust of wind sounds like terrifying symbolism.
The most impressive aspect of this film is its oppressive atmospheric nature. Writer/director Alejandro Amenabar has created a film that is profoundly unnerving.
The uncomfortably narrow cave-like hallways in this horror film are an example of how this impression is sometimes the result of the physical and tactile world that is represented on screen. It is also due to the phenomenally executed concept that builds tension, as in the case of The Others – the engaging yet off-putting setting.
The only aspect of this film that I personally considered a bit lackluster was the double twist at the end, which I won’t discuss exactly due to spoilers, but it isn’t a twist that works to the film’s strength.
I was noticeably worried that the pacing wouldn’t be good in this feature film, but this is a pretty strong showing by Alejandro Amenabar. He had done a bunch of films before this, including the movie that Vanilla Sky is a remake of. However, none of them are as widely viewed as The Others. The Others is a film that depends relies extensively on its ending.
This is a snail-paced film for the majority of its 100-minute run time, which opens a layer of slow-burn atmospheric undertones to it. Not to mention, it’s done almost flawlessly so it holds up in every way.
The Others’ atmosphere is perhaps its strongest point, but Nicole Kidman’s acting comes in just behind it. As Grace, Kidman gives a strong performance, perhaps one of her best as her tremulous voice and discarded personality fit perfectly with the dimly-lit environment.
Grace is a devout, if not obsessive, Roman Catholic who adds additional restrictions and constraints to her children’s lives. Kidman strikes a good balance between being vulnerable and being in charge here, and that makes this one of her best performances.
A film such as this requires extreme precision when it comes to cinematography. Lucky for us, cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe does a phenomenal job. The audience’s mind would consider all the things that could go wrong in such a house, which really gets to you due to the intensely claustrophobic, dark, and immobilizing setting that Aguirresarobe and Amenabar have crafted.
Footsteps in another room, open windows in a night with a low breeze, the glaring sounds of a candle, and the howling of the wind outside manage to take on a far more ominous tone here due to the phenomenal cinematography and sound design. The soundtrack is a bit iffy though, it’s not memorable nor is it too good during the film itself.
There are very few movies that achieve The Others’ level of intensity and mood. With this movie, Alejandro Amenabar establishes himself as a true auteur and a filmmaker deserving of a niche audience. Sure, there are a few aspects that sprain its quality, however, The Others is a ghost movie that is truly worth your time.
- A slow-burner atmospheric film that has a compelling narrative
- Phenomenal performances by the cast, in particular; Nicole Kidman
- Some of the best cinematography in the horror genre
- A snarky double twist at the end that doesn’t help the film
- It can feel a bit too slow for conventional audiences
- A bit of a bland soundtrack