31 Days of Reviews: The Others (2001)

A mother and her two children spend their days living in their secluded, island home, in the year after the end of WWII. The children have an illness that prevents them from living in the light of day, so when it appears that there are intruders in their home, there doesn’t seem a means to escape.

This is a pretty old movie, not really, but it’s not current. I’ve wanted to see it for a really long time, so when I saw that it was available on Netflix streaming, I added it to my list very quickly. I’ve seen all of the movies that parodied some of The Others‘ iconic scenes, and it just really seemed like something that would be my style.

My first impressions of this film were about the setting. It’s pretty fantastic. The film is set in 1945, on a secluded island. The house is old and big, and the grounds are shrouded in fog. That’s just the outside. Once the viewer gets inside the house, it’s pretty evident that it’s too big for the few people living in it. The house makes noises of its own, and since the children have photosensitivity, the curtains are always closed. This makes the big house seem even more menacing. We all know the eerie shadows that can be created by candlelight.

The eerie feeling isn’t just focused on the actual appearance of the setting either. From the very beginning, the entire feel of the film makes it where you can’t tell who’s good and who’s bad. It’s very unsettling. The mother (Nicole Kidman) is rigidly religious, enforcing bible study as both education and punishment. She’s definitely an authoritarian parent. When you add this strict lifestyle to the dark and lifeless house, things get pretty intense.

The Others has a slow pacing, pretty typical of a lot of supernatural films in the early 2000s. I was reminded several times of the film Darkness which came out in the same time period. It’s a slow burn. I’m personally a big fan of the slower pacing in horror films. I do it myself, so I wasn’t bothered by it. I could see people who are more a fan of the fast-paced slasher becoming bored with The Others.

Christopher Eccleston has a small role in the film which felt oddly placed to me. I felt like it could have been longer. I understand the purpose of it all, but it still seemed odd. The movie does have a nice twist ending with clues sprinkled in throughout to help you guess. I did guess what the twist was while watching, but I was wrong about a lot of the details.

It was a nice experience to finally see the “Are you mad? I am your daughter!” scene in its original context. It was definitely creepy that way. I was a little worried because of the parody I had seen.

Overall, if you’re in the mood for an atmospheric horror film from the early 2000s, The Others may be a good choice for you. I’m a little taken aback by how short this review is, but I’m finding that I don’t really have much to say. In some ways, perhaps, The Others is style over substance? At the same time, maybe there just isn’t really too much to talk about. Take that as you will.

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