You probably remember The Others best from when it was parodied in the immortal classic Scary Movie 3, where a creepy little girl is revealed to be Michael Jackson. How do those films manage to stay so timely? Anyways, The Others is your typical “Spooky ghost/spooky kid story” but with a few twists and turns. What intrigued me the most was the knowledge that this film had a twist ending. As a horror fan, it wasn’t easy avoiding that twist ending for so many years. Was it worth the wait? Sure, why not?
Set in 1945 on the island of Jersey (A British Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy), The Others is about Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), a deeply religious woman caring for her two children in a remote country house, while her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) is at war. Grace’s children suffer from a rare disease, xeroderma pigmentosa, characterized by an extreme sensitivity to sunlight. Thus, Grace must take special care in running the house. A trio of new servants arrive; Bertha, a nanny (Fionnula Flanagan), an elderly gardner named Tuttle (Erick Sykes), and a young mute Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) and not long after strange phenomena begins around the house.
The Others goes for a less is more approach, which I can appreciate. The children make contact with some kind of “other” entity but it’s never flat out shown, just suggested. Additional tension comes from Grace and the strict quality in which she dishes out mom justice. I was just as scared of her as anything else and with good cause. When we’re not being unnerved my Grace’s acidity, were being unnerved by the creaks and squeaks of the old country house. faint sobs echo, things appear to move when they shouldn’t be moving, classic.
[toggle title_open=”Major Spoilers” title_closed=”Major Spoilers” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]Chances are anyone who has wants to see The Others has already seen it so here’s how it ends: They’re all dead. Everybody in the movie is already dead and “The Others” are the current not-dead individuals living in the house. I couldn’t say that I didn’t see it coming but it’s a clever twist on a tired formula. Basically, Grace was once so crazy that she smothered both her children with a pillow and then shot herself. She thought it was all a hallucination or a dream, guess again. The servants are former employees of the house many years ago and Grace’s husband (who returns to the house for a brief time) died in the war. Kind of a downer but it’s a the best part of the whole movie.
Apart from the twist ending, The Others is fairly standard. Though I do appreciate it going for atmosphere over gore or cheap scares. After this writer/director Alejandro Amenabar went on to direct the highly acclaimed The Sea Inside and Nicole Kidman went on to marry Keith Urban. So it almost worked out for everybody in the end.