“With scares that come constantly, but subtly, The Others is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Continuing on with my Horror Movie Month I watched The Others. The Others follows a very religious family in the 1940’s (shortly after the war), who are looking for servants. Once some are found, and they are told all of the very specific rules of the house, strange things start to happen that lead the family to believe that someone else is may be living with them.
For a bit of transparency I chose all of the movies I was going to watch during October a few weeks ago, and The Others was one of my original picks. As luck would have it, a few days after I picked the movies I accidentally stumbled upon a spoiler for this film. I’m not going to share the information that I read with you, but let’s just say that it took a certain ‘punch’ out of the film that would have otherwise been there. Now I can’t blame anyone but myself for ruining the movie, but if my review seems a little underwhelmed you know know the reason.
The Others is a period-piece film. Like I said the film takes place in the 1940’s, so all of the costumes and sets are accurate (as far as I could tell). This really helps with the atmosphere of the film because all of the victorian-era furniture and architecture definitely make anything creepier. The acting was also great because it never took me out of that time period. You have Nicole Kidman playing the devoutly religious mother, Grace, and you have her two children who, like children, are always at each others throats. You also have a few other characters but the most important is Bertha, one of the new servants. Bertha is the nanny of the two children and also the “head servant”, but throughout the film as things start to get weird Bertha stays calm and acts as if nothing is happening. This persists until the end and keeps you wondering what is going on with her.
Now The Others is not a movie that relies on special effects or intricate set pieces, but instead it’s what I would call minimalist horror. It sets up a scene, and it never really does anything grandiose to scare the shit out of you but over time it wears down your mind until you are jumping at shadows on the wall. This is accomplished many ways, but really the most important is the way the film is shot. The Others utilizes sweeping shots instead of fast cuts to build tension. This leaves you on the edge of your seat for as long as it possibly can, and then finally ends in a scare. This not only fits the story, but also the time period in that it is a more “classic” horror technique. The music also had a helping hand in the atmosphere of the film but it wasn’t always scary. Sure there were terrifying moments with shrill violins like every other horror film, but what got me was the ‘regular’ music. The Others, though it was a horror film, had this sense of mystery about it and the music conveyed this. Often times we would hear lovely, almost whimsical, music that strangely didn’t mess with how frightening the film was.
Finally, yes the film was spoiled for me; but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t enjoyable. The atmosphere alone is enough to scare me so the story was an added bonus. So I would recommend that if you like horror films, watch The Others without looking up anything about it.
Ultimately The Others is a fantastic psychological horror film that just so happens to be a great period piece. With scares that come constantly, but subtly, The Others is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
I give The Others a B