March 21, 2021 8:23:24 am
Horror in the early noughties, and before that, was mostly limited to jump scares, and very predictable ones at that. However, things started to change with time and with artistes who were willing to experiment. The 2001 Alejandro Amenábar directorial The Others certainly belonged to the latter group. The Others, starring the versatile Nicole Kidman, was spooky, even intense for a horror movie, and had a solid script to back it up. Shout out to the filmmaker who also wrote the screenplay of the period horror drama.
In fact, The Others is a psychological horror-thriller that plays sneaky games with your mind, with what you cannot see on screen. And as the famous saying goes, ‘A known devil is better than an unknown one.’ What you cannot see on screen, you tend to think more about, which, in a delicious twist, is something that goes for the viewers of The Others as well as the characters of the movie.
The main plot line of The Others runs thus — there is a young woman with two children, who moves to the west coast in the 40s. Her kids are photosensitive so they have to take extra care with any kind of light pouring in. This is one of the main reasons why nearly the entire movie is shrouded in darkness. And the dark, of course, helps bring out the elements of the genre in a much more satisfying way. However, things take a turn when the two younglings start seeing things. At first, Nicole Kidman’s character Grace, is not convinced and believes that the house helps are up to some mischief. But once she begins experiencing other-worldly things herself, Grace becomes more concerned regarding the well-being of her loved ones. The rest of the story follows from there.
Even though it has been light years since the movie released, I will spare you from the spoilers, because the twist is very satisfying and many might not make the connection until the big reveal. So neatly packed and so well done, and that goes for nearly every department — camerawork, lighting, acting, writing, directing, sound design — nothing seemed amiss. And a special mention for the cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe, who exquisitely shot this movie. Rarely has a horror film looked the way The Others has.
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As far as the acting goes, the child actors Alakina Mann and James Bentley were pitch-perfect. But the movie rested heavily on Nicole’s strong shoulders, and she displayed why she has been so bankable all this while. Nicole generally possesses a certain sense of grace, and that worked wonders for her character in a horror space, where everything is usually so chaotic and shabby. Nicole stood out. Because she was the only who was hiding her horror behind her passiveness and perfect control. I remember reading reviews after watching The Others and someone calling her ‘surpassingly fine.’ An odd compliment in itself, but perfectly suited to what the actor does in this movie.
You can watch The Others on Netflix.
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