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The Others (2001)

Sooner or later they will find you – unless you’ve already fallen asleep through complete boredom

Directed by:

Alejandro Amenabar

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 105 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

Everyone loves it when a film has a good twist, and "The Others" has just that. It's just a pity the 100 minutes that come before it are among the most boring, stuffy and mind-numbingly drawn-out processes I've ever had to endure in movie-watching.

This turgid tale takes place in 1945, at a creepy old mansion in Jersey where Grace (Nicole Kidman) has turned half-batty since her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) disappeared off into the distance to fight the Germans. Her two kids Anne and Nicholas (Alakina Mann and James Bentley) have a rare skin disease meaning the poor little blighters can't be exposed to light, which explains why Grace is a tad obsessive about keeping all the curtains drawn and doors closed. What it doesn't explain is why, when three strangers arrive on her doorstep looking for work, she makes one of them (Eric Sykes) sleep in the shed. The house is bloody massive! Surely she could let him sleep indoors? It's no wonder the previous workforce did a runner.

Anyway, in between droning endlessly on about the bible and forcing old men to kip next to the garden rake, she's briefly re-united with hubby Charles – though, it has to be said, he's hardly a barrel of laughs himself. To cut to the point, the poor woman's so out of it that you'd think she'd believe practically anything – though, strangely, she's less than willing to face facts when things start going bump in the night and her kids receive some ghostly visits.

Let's face it – Kidman is no stranger to appearing in appallingly over-rated dull-fests, and she's at it again in this downright awful attempt from Chilean director Alejandro Amenabar at scaring us with an atmospheric ghost story. Unfortunately, Amenabar – who also wrote this nonsense – forgets that in amongst all that atmosphere it helps a great deal if SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

It's Got: Keith "World In Motion" Allen looking like a spiv in a greasy hairpiece, and Eric Sykes no doubt catching his death of cold.

It Needs: Some basic level of entertainment.

DVD Extras Featurette, visual FX piece, a look at Xeroderma Pigmentosum (or photo-sensitivity, as it’s known in the movie), the story of a family dealing with the disease, an "intimate" look at director Alejandro Amenabar, stills gallery, theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

The Haunting (1963 version), What Lies Beneath

Summary

Only the surprisingly good ending saves this tiresome, overly-atmospheric, non-event from receiving an even lower rating.

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