|Suspenseful, well acted and positively riveting, The Others is a scary movie whose thrill is its ability to scare the audience with what it doesn’t put on the screen. Using a combination of the classic filmmaking techniques common in the thrillers of the 1940’s, Alejandro Amenábar has created a film that elicits more than a few screams from the audience. And there’re definitely a few moments in this film where screams are appropriate. But there’s no blood, no gore, and no gratuitous violence present in the film.|
Which is commendable, considering that modern suspense and thriller filmmakers often feel that more more more always equals a better way to make films. But this film proves that you don’t have to have gallons of blood on the screen to create a truly scary experience. This way of storytelling allows the film to almost have an actual feeling to it, as if the movie itself has a personality. It's a cold and calculating story that is libel to fool you into believing for a few moments that the film is not really that intense, until a downright creepy scene comes along scares teh daylights out of the audience.
Like the film welcomes you to watch and then slaps you in the face when you get to comfortable. in the few complaints on this film that I've read, people usually harp on the length of the film and how in spots it seems slow. But I don't agree with this opinion. Though the film has a deliberate and sometimes slow pace, it seems to fit the story very well. Every scene has been thought out and plotted very well so that no camera move, piece of dialogue or bit of music seems out of place. It's as if everything has its place and everything is in its place. Kind of a lame saying, but it just serves to explain that this film is very well put together.
There isn't a single scene that feels as if it should have been left on the cutting room floor. The screenwriter and the editor have both done a fine job of making sure that this movie always moves forward and never stalls. It doesn't drag, it just knows where its going and doesn't rush off to get there before the audience is ready. A really interesting part of this film is that that director and writer, Alejandro, also wrote the music. And, not surprisingly, the music for this film is an integral part of the whole mood and pace of the story. By taking an objective view of a few scenes in this film, it is apparent that it is entirely the music which creates the mood for the scene and communicates the feelings of the characters on the screen to the audience.
Often, there are no words in the scenes and with a slow sweep of the camera and a sudden crash of music, the mood is heightened to the point where almost anything would frighten the audience. I think that this is a very sneaky yet creative way to advance the story and create something out of nothing. After all, sometimes the scary elements to this film are nothing more than off-camera noises and the music on the soundtrack. That’s not to say that the actors in the film do not create a strong presence as well in the film. Everyone in this film has an intense face and stare that serve only to add to that over-all feeling of creepiness you'll get when watching this film.
And perhaps the performances in this film were so outstanding because of the interesting script. The film's basic plot is easy enough to understand, but the twists and turns really make this film move. Basically, Nicole Kidman has two children who cannot go in sunlight or bright lights because they're "photosensitive." So Nicole's character, "Grace," must keep her children safe from the light at all times, accomplishing this with the following this rule: "each time upon entering a room, a door must be shut before another can be opened." and when she hires a trio of servants, supernatural forces start hanging around the old house she owns.
Like the usual strange noises and other creepy things always present in a ghost film. But the plot really isn't the point of this film. It's the story and the acting. Which really are both fantastic. The three actors playing the servant characters (Fionnula Flanagan, Elaine Cassidy, and Eric Sykes) all give interesting performances. Each character is subtle, but has some ironic humor. And that has to be one of the best additions to this movie. There's some humor in an otherwise very serious film that doesn't detract from the scary elements at all. It only serves to increase the tension present in the rest of the film.
So for the past few paragraphs I've just complimented this film over and over and have yet to say anything harsh about it. And in truth, I can't find anything wrong with it. A strong story and dynamic actors really make this film a pleasure to watch. Not in a long time have I seen a film that so reminded me of those great thrillers from sixty years ago. That's part of the reason why I gave this flick four stars. With a lot of the films of the 2001 Summer season fading easily into the fogotten recesses of my mind, this film will certainly stand out as one of the best of the season, and perhaps one of the most entertaining of the year. It takes a great movie to get four stars and this one certainly has earned it. With an ending that would make any audience member shiver, this film delivers on every point and accomplishes every goal it sets out to catch.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.