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The Others (2001)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Alejandro Anemabar

Nicole Kidman/Grace
Alakina Mann/Anne
James Bently/Nicolas
Fionnula Flanagan/Mrs. Mills
10 10
Grace (Kidman) lives in an isolated mansion with her two children. When three strangers arrive at her doorstep, she hires them to be the “help” of the house. But it isn't long before the new servants start acting very strangely and the house itself seems to be occupied by “others”. Is there a ghost in the house? WTF is going on?
Man, have I been having a good streak with horror movies these days. First came "Jeepers Creepers", a film that brought the fun factor of the 80s back into the game. Then, there was "Session 9", a movie with the subtle, trippy vibe of the 70s. And now, there’s "The Others, a flick that offers today’s genre films a much-needed dose of maturity and subtlety. Haunted house flicks haven’t been all that good lately but this one is the best-haunted house dish I’ve nibbled on since "The Changeling".

This movie has it all. First off, it has a great location. The Mansion (on the coast of England no less) makes for a very spooky setting. Add that to the fact that it always seems to be clouded in mist and you can imagine how eerie it must look. The film also tosses in a kool twist, which in turn augments the sinister look of the location: the children cannot be exposed to light (they have some kind of deadly reaction to it). Which means that about 90 percent of the film is lit by candles or lanterns. How many haunted house flicks do you know that have the light as the enemy instead of the darkness? I have never seen that approach in a film (and if I have, I’ve forgotten). It makes for a very washed-out look that accentuates the dreadful ambiance of the story. The film almost feels like it was shot in black and white.

The movie approaches its scares in an old fashioned manner: doors opening by themselves, noises in the attic, children's cries and quick apparitions. And now that I think about it, the book of the dead (you’ll see) is probably the creepiest thing in this entire movie. There’s just something so damn wrong about that book! The film had me questioning what was going on the whole time (although I have to admit that I figured most of it out about half an hour before the end) and I really dug the ambiguity that some of the characters possessed. The film also throws some clever twists our way, some low key chills and yes, once the credits roll, you’ll want to see it again. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this film, and it's definitely another one of those movies that gets better with a second viewing.

I’ve heard some critics say that the film is too slow. Well, I will admit that the pace of the movie isn’t lightning fast but never bothered me. The well-developed characters kept me watching and so did the situation. I don’t need a "boo a minute" to remain captivated. I have also heard others (no pun intended) say that once done, looking back, the movie has some plot holes. Again I’ve found no plot holes and was able to tie everything up. Of course, I had to ponder over the film afterwards and talk about it with my homey JoBlo to figure everything out, but that’s a good thing.

This is a character driven piece. It’s beautifully shot and has lots of class. It bathes in an aura of sadness and asks the audience to think. I personally like movies that have you exercising the old noggin. The question is: are YOU ready to use your brain again? Enter this house and find out…
Apart from a creepy old woman with white eyes and bad hair…NADA!
Nicole Kidman (Grace) gives her best performance…ever! She handles her neurotic part like a champ. I liked the ambiguity of her character. She’s a caring mother but at the same time she’s a bit nutso and overly religious. Kidman communicates all that through her wide beautiful eyes. I was never a fan of Kidman but she sold me here. Alakina Mann (Anne) and James Bently (Nicolas) are perfectly cast. They are very young and not once did I ever think that they were acting. Mann in particular really stands out. Great show! Fionnula Flanagan (Mrs. Mills) also plays the ambiguous card well. You never know where she’s coming from and her delivery is on the ball. Elaine Cassidy (Lydia) does well with what she has to do but her part is shamefully underused. Eric Sykes (Mr. Tuttle) plays it down and manages to be kooky and creepy at the same time. Christopher Eccleston (Charles) doesn’t have much dialogue but his tortured presence is enough to convey that something really wrong is going on here.
T & A
Lots of lesbian sex scenes and orgy sequences…I’m just kidding…nothing here…
Atmosphere, atmosphere, and atmosphere. This movie is all about that. It has eerie lighting, swooping camera movements, creepy shots and beautiful cinematography. Finally a horror flick that doesn’t look like an MTV clip, but a horror movie! The mist was a nice touch too…
The score is used at all the right moments and give the scary scenes that extra “oomph”.
With the spat of teen slashers that we got snowed with recently, I never thought that we’d ever go back to ”intelligent” horror movies, whose purpose was greater than just selling a soundtrack. With the arrival of "Session 9" and now "The Others"…The Arrow feels hope.

Where "Jeepers Creepers" felt like the 80’s, "Session 9" like the 70’s, "The Others" feels like the 40s or the 50s, a time where all the elements were treated in a simple but very effective manner. Hopefully the audience will be able to switch their brains back on again. I want this flick to make money. I want smart horror to become the new “trend”.
Alejandro Anemabar also wrote the screenplay for "The Others".

Alejandro Anemabar was born in 1972. That makes him 29…wow, that’s young…you go boy!
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