You just had to be there to understand the impact this movie made back in the day. The Others is an incredibly effective and well-crafted blend of mystery, fantasy, and horror. It is, above all, a scary movie, not counting on cheap jump-scares but on a meticulously built atmosphere. An atmosphere that can turn into your worst nightmare at any moment. We will be following Grace, a single mother living in a big mansion with her two photosensitive kids. Soon, she will start to notice strange things happening around the house. The Others wastes no time and starts creating ominous vibes right from the first scene.
In this nightmarish and surreal atmosphere, we find Grace, our anchor that keeps things as real as they could be. Nicole Kidman gave a convincing, committed, and vulnerable performance as the mother willing to do anything to protect her children. She’s the lead here and basically, the entire movie depended on her giving it everything she’s got. I would also like to mention Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs. Mills, adding to the sense of authenticity. As you can already notice, The Others is a movie featuring some rather familiar elements. We have a haunted house, a single mother, and a horrific tale of evil waiting to be uncovered.
Thanks to Alejandro Amenábar’s almost magical vision, all these elements came together in a different way than they do in other, similar movies. And there were a lot of them. We can look at the late nineties as the beginning of this haunty wave that continued well into the late 2000s. These are not just horror movies but also supernatural thrillers and mystery movies. I’m talking about Fallen, The Sixth Sense, The Haunting, Dragonfly, The Mothman Prophecies, and Stir of Echoes. They were the antidote to the visceral and oftentimes gruesome movies like Saw or Hostel. And some of them had that magical vibe about them, like The Devil’s Backbone.
Moving on, The Others is also a movie that’s best experienced with as little background info as possible. This is why I’m going to skip the usual summary paragraph as you already know what’s going on. The story is fairly simple if you look at it honestly. However, as we all know, the devil is in the details. Alejandro’s direction is confident and persuasive. It won’t take long before you’re in that huge mansion, with Grace and “the others”. I should also mention that the story takes place in the year of our lord Satan 1945 just before the end of WWII.
Grace has two kids and both of them have this disease that prevents them from ever being in sunlight. To make things even weirder, this is a real disease, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, extreme photosensitivity. It’s extremely rare with only about 1000 people in the world suffering from it. This also means that light will play a big role in the movie. Alejandro takes advantage of this and creates this horror reversal where light is dangerous and dark is safe. At least for the time being.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Writer: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston, Elaine Cassidy, Alakina Mann
Fun Facts: Alejandro Amenábar would use creepy music to create a sense of unease for the two young actors in order for them to get into their roles.