The Others (2001) has mood up the yin-yang
Some critics (my friends) really hate The Others (2001), but I think it’s not that bad. It’s a haunted house movie starring Nicole Kidman back when she had a career, and she does a great job being a weirdo mother. It has a twist, as most horror movies did back in the early 2000s, and a creepy atmosphere. I wasn’t even annoyed by the kid characters, so I guess that’s something.
Kidman as the Weirdo Mom ™ hires on all the supporting characters after about ten minutes, so we’re off to weirdo land wondering what’s going on, trying to catch up with the plot. It’s like an M. Night Shyamalan movie because we’re wondering what’s REALLY going on or what the twist is going to be to surprise us. This wonder and suspense is built up by strangeness like Weirdo Mom’s rules, that everyone has to obey (lest they give away the twist of the movie). She keeps all the doors locked and unlocks only one at a time, before another can be opened. I was preparing for the twist, so I didn’t really care about all the stupidness.
The director of this movie is Alejandro Amenabar, and he does a good job building the tension. But it just goes on and on. There’s a knock here and a bump there, and characters argue about strange stuff. There’s a couple of frightening moments, but there’s really never any payoff to the real tension built up by the plot. I remember when Steven Spielberg did the same thing in Poltergeist, but he’s got a huge banging climax with a demon ghost thing flying out of the TV or whatever. In The Others, the only banging climax is Nicole Kidman crying and carrying on. Oh well.
Anyway, it probably sounds like I hate this movie, but I don’t. I think it’s alright. It just has weaknesses like every other movie, but it does have a good performance by Kidman to carry it and good direction. It’s not a standard horror movie, and I think that puts people off. It Follows and The Babadook aren’t standard movies either and some people hated them too (a couple anyway). Those are good movies, folks. The Others probably isn’t THAT good, but it’s way better than crap like Scary Movie 6 and The 5th Wave.
Overall, I like this movie. It’s good at telling a story and creating atmosphere, but just lacks that payoff to make it a classic. Oh well. I like the part where she speaks to her husband and she’s all confused, wishing he wouldn’t go. Acting, folks. Maybe this movie will be thought of with more regard as time passes, like House on Haunted Hill or something. Or maybe I’m delusional.