Outstanding "ghost story with a twist" that, granted, came out hot on the heels of the success of The Sixth Sense. You know what I'm talking about - it's creepy and kind of scary, but not gory at all. It's smart and high-brow, but not pretentious and overblown. And, of course, it has a trick / surprise ending that you should have seen coming had you been paying close attention to all of the clues. It's a bit played out now, but when these started rolling out I was hooked.
The Others, based on Turn of the Screw like The Innocents, is simply a great ghost story. The atmosphere is dreary and misty and plays like a gothic horror piece from the 1960's, even down to the campy, but fitting music. The story is pretty straight forward - it's the end of the Second World War and Nicole Kidman is awaiting the return of her soldier husband. She is joined at her stately, but dimly lit and spooky estate by her two ridiculously cute children. One morning, a sweet old Irish woman arrives, joined by a sweet old Englishman and a homely deaf mute. They have come answering the ad for servants and the old Irish woman (let's call her Margaret because she is 100% my grandmother) is to be the nanny.
Like The Innocents, it becomes clear that something is not right in the house, especially when it comes to the relationship between the children and . . . the others. And from there it twists and turns it's way through some spectacular sets, seriously spooky scenes and a satisfying, if not 100% unexpected ending.
Despite the ominous and heavy tone throughout, it's clear that the filmmakers intended the audience to have fun here. It's certainly an homage to the 60's Hammer Films and does borrow quite a bit from 30s and 40s Universal imagery, but it's also kind of goofy at times without being too goofy or dumb. And, regardless of her recent roles (and surgery) Nicole Kidman is really good in this. When she gets frantic, I buy it. And seriously, the little boy in this movie is amazing. He has this look on his puss the entire movie that is a cross between extreme concern and unbridled rage.
That's it. This movie is awesome. Rent it.