I decided to watch this movie after reading Lydia Schoch’s review. For as much as I love Halloween, I don’t actually like most horror movies. Most of them contain far too much gore and violence, and little to nothing in the way of a truly frightening atmosphere. Lydia has also compiled a list of horror movies for those who dislike the horror genre, and this one is on it.
And let me tell you, it’s good. Really good. Creepy, atmospheric and in many ways poignant, it tells the story of a widowed young mother and her two small children, who dwell in a lonely and remote old mansion. One day, a group of servants arrives, seeking employment. The servants are older, with clothes and habits that seem distinctly… old-fashioned.
From there, strange events begin to occur. All the classic elements of a haunted house story begin to unfold: strange noises; doors opening by themselves, strange visitors who appear and disappear suddenly. It’s all very much a classic Gothic tale of a haunted house.
And yet, at the same time, it isn’t. Or rather, it puts a novel spin on the concept. I can’t say any more without giving it away, and it’s very important that I not do that. Perhaps this is fortunate; it prevents me from going on at length like I sometimes do. But, trust me, I could talk about this one for much longer… but I daren’t, because so much of what I want to say involves the final twist, or shall I say, the final “turn of the screw?”
The film definitely feels loosely inspired by Henry James’ much-discussed ghost novella. (Or is it a ghost novella? That’s the discussion, isn’t it?) But frankly, while that book is interesting in concept, it’s not really got much else to recommend it. The Others borrows what is good about that story, and then takes it a little further. Again, I’m afraid I can’t say any more than that.
If you haven’t seen it, don’t look up spoilers. Just read Lydia’s review and go from there. Also, it’s best to watch this movie late in the afternoon on a gray, rainy day; ideally with some fog in the air. That’s what I did, and it added something to the experience.
If you like ghost stories, The Others is a must-see.