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Written and Directed by Alejandro Amenabar

Running Time: 1:44

Rated PG-13
for thematic elements and frightening moments

Nicole Kidman
as Grace

Alakina Mann
as Anne

James Bentley
as Nicholas

Fionnula Flanagan
as Mrs. Mills

Elaine Cassidy
as Lydia

Eric Sykes
as Mr. Tuttle

Christopher Eccleston
as Charles

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Nicole Kidman

The Others is a top notch supernatural thriller lead by a great performance by Nicole Kidman and an ending that will shock you.

It's just after World War II and Grace (Nicole Kidman) is living in a large mansion on the Isle of Jersey off the English coast with her two children Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley). Her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) has gone off to fight with the British, but even though the war is over, Charles has not yet returned home, nor has anything been heard about him. Anne and Nicholas have a rare disease that does not allow them to live within light, doing so would cause them to die. All by herself in this large house while raising two kids who can't go outside, Grace needs some live in help. Mysteriously, her previous employees vanished without a trace. But by chance Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes) and Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) show up on Grace's doorstep. It seems the three of them had previously worked at the same manor years earlier, and just wanted to come home. But things are happening inside the home, things that can not be explained. Anne complains of seeing a young boy named Victor, and a strange old woman with no eyes. Grace doesn't believe her, until she herself starts seeing things that she can not answer. Who is in their home and what do they want?

The Others is a very good movie that builds slowly to a startling finale. Having the kids not be able to live within light is a great plot device that allows the house to be bathed in darkness, which keeps it creepy throughout. It's a rare movie that makes daylight almost scarier than darkness. The ending, which reminded me of great twist endings like The Usual Suspects and The Sixth Sense was very surprising. It was almost like there was a double twist ending, so even if you could guess one, you didn't see the other one coming. But let me stop myself before I give away too much.

I found the movie very engaging throughout. It was very well written and directed allowing you to get involved in the story from the start, and never letting you go. Nicole Kidman has one of her best performances as a mother who just wants to protect her children but doesn't understand, or want to understand, what's happening around her. Her build towards madness is mesmerizing. Young Alakina Mann as Anne also did a wonderful job making you believe that she was truly seeing things that no one else could. The music, done by writer/director Alejandro Amenabar was kept to a minimum which made the movie that much creepier since there was silence most of the time with the music used to enhance the horror Grace was feeling.

The great thing about The Others is that the frights come from what you don't see rather than what you do see. It's a psychological thriller that plays with your mind instead of coming out and using some extravagant special effects ghost to scare you. One of the most terrifying movies I've ever see was The Shining, and The Others follows in those same footsteps. It shows an otherwise normal person slowly falling into a crazed state but it never tries to throw stuff in your face to scare you, it lets you scare yourself. I'm not saying The Others is on par with The Shining but it is one of the better psychological thrillers I've seen in a long time.

So overall if you're in the mood for a good creep-fest, I would highly suggest seeing The Others. A great performance by Nicole Kidman and a great script by Alejandro Amenabar will keep you on the edge of your seat until the shocking climax. Just don't tell your friends how it ends.

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reviewed 08/11/01

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