One of the movies for my Readings In the Genre The Haunted was The Others. This movie took a different look at hauntings and I enjoyed watching it.
This review is going to have spoilers so if you haven’t watched the movie and you want to be surprised by the storyline, you’re probably better off not reading my review. You’ve been duly warned.
Grace Stewart is a devout Roman Catholic and spends a lot of time throughout the first portion of the movie tutoring her children, Anne and Nicolas, about religion and the punishments for not being good Catholics. Anne and Nicolas are super light sensitive, which means that the doors in the house have to be opened, closed, and locked in order so as to prevent the children’s accidental exposure to the light. I don’t know if this is a real ailment or if it was another in the long list of potentially misunderstood medical conditions from previous eras. This part was a bit confusing to me because I could never tell what time of day it was throughout the movie because it always seemed to be at least partially light outside. In some ways, I understand that this is because you can actually see better when your eyes naturally adapt to the time of day.
When I typed up my review for The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I discussed the time factor and how everything seemed to happen at night and in the fall and winter, but The Others went a different direction. I couldn’t actually tell what season The Others took place in and it had no bearing on the story, other than being at a time of year that would produce a good deal of fog to make the story believable for Grace, Anne, and Nicolas. It certainly appeared at the end of the story as though the outside temperature was at least mostly nice and there was no snow on the ground or any other indications of excessive cold.
In this movie, you’ve got all the trappings of a classic haunted house, including the feelings of a presence sharing the room, things moving in other rooms where no people are present, random sound effects, and other mysterious occurrences. You’ve even got Anne who keeps trying to tell her mom that she sees a boy named Victor.
I think it’s interesting that it seems as though religion has a part in most of the stories I’ve read or the movies I’ve seen so far. You typically have people who are somehow heavily immersed in the religious world, like priests or strongly religious family members, and they have biblical reasons for the things that happen, or they have twisted the words of their religious texts in order to corrupt or influence more of their familial relationships. The only book so far that didn’t seem to have any strong religious ties was The Lovely Bones, which I apparently didn’t actually need to read for this class, and which might be considered to have religious tones because it talks about the experiences in heaven.
The different direction that The Others took was in telling the story not from the perspective of the living who are dwelling in a haunted house, but rather in telling the story from the perspective of the ghosts who are trying to deal with both the knowledge of their deaths and in learning to exist in the same space as the living.
I guess one of the big questions this movie brought up for me was what encouraged Grace to smother Anne and Nicolas in the first place? Is the house something that inspires the people in it to die so that they won’t be lonely, like it felt like the house in The Haunting of Hill House did? Or was it purely coincidental that Grace killed her two children and then herself in the same house where at least Mrs. Mills, Mr. Tuttle, and Lydia died of tuberculosis Are there other ghosts that might be hanging out in the house as well and they just haven’t met them yet?
Overall, this was an okay movie, but not one that I thought was spectacular. I do like the idea of telling the story through the viewpoint of the ghosts and thought that was pretty neat. The music and sound effects added to the suspenseful aspect of the movie. I think I would rate this as a low three or a high two on my rating scale.