Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan
Review by Brian M. Sammons
It’s funny how some movies just sort of fade away, almost like ghosts. Take this film, The Others, for example. When it first came out it got a lot of good press, the horrorheads by and large gave it the thumbs up, and while I don’t know the actual numbers, I think it made a pretty penny too. And yet today, if you ask a question like, “name some good haunted house flicks” to a bunch of genre fans, it is rare anyone mentions or remembers this film, and that’s a crying shame. Well thankfully, Lionsgate is doing their part to rectify that grievous injustice by bringing this movie back out and on Blu-ray for the very first time.
So is this new disc worth a purchase, or should it be allowed to fade away? Let’s find out.
In case you forgot, The Others takes place just after World War Two in a large, spooky English manor house (naturally). There, a beleaguered, recently war-widowed mother is taking care of her two small kids who have very special needs, and by that I mean that they have a severe allergy to light that could kill them. To help her run the big old house and tend to her housebound children, she hires three servants who just happen to wander up to her home one day out of the blue. Hmm, what could be wrong with that? Oh well, that’s nothing compared to the little boy, and the rest of his family, that the young daughter keeps saying are sharing the family’s house. Could such things just be a child’s over active imagination? Possibly, but when the mother starts seeing and hearing odd things, like voices and people who shouldn’t be there … well who you gonna call?
And that’s about where I want to leave the general overview of this film, because if I say too much more I might ruin the mystery behind this haunted house, not to mention a pretty neat-o ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud. Hmm, maybe just saying that was saying too much, but oh well, guess I’m a stinker.
Anyway, this is a great, creepy, and moody fright film if there ever was one. It is what I would call quiet horror, quiet, but damn effective. Furthermore, all the acting is top notch, especially Nicole Kidman as the stressed to the breaking point mother, and surprisingly even the kids do a fair to good job, and I’m normally not a fan of child actors. Writer and director Alejandro Amenábar proves that he knows both how to make a good movie and what’s honestly scary, as opposed to just what’s shocking, like the overused jump scares that populate most other “horror” films. If you are a fan of atmospheric ghost stories and you have yet to see The Others, then you’re missing out.
Unfortunately, while the new Blu-ray looks great, with plenty of deep, dark shadows to fill up the gloomy house in this movie, there are no new extras on this disc that wasn’t already on the older DVD version. That said, if you don’t already own this movie on disc, then they’re all new to you, and the good news is that there are three different featurettes of various length on visual effects, the director of the film, and Xeroderma Pigmentosum, the fatal to light affliction showcased in this movie. Additionally there is a sizable documentary on the film and then the usual suspects like trailers and a still gallery.
So is The Others a must buy on Blu-ray? Well if you don’t already own this movie then hell yes it is! It’s a great creepy film and I enjoyed watching it again after almost forgetting it myself. However if you already own this flick on DVD then there’s really not much of a reason to upgrade to BD, unless you’re a High-Def snob, as the prettied up picture will be the only new thing to be found on this disc. Still, sometimes that alone is worth it.