The Others

101 minutes

In a Victorian mansion on the isle of Jersey a woman and her two children wait out World War II with some illusions: the children believe their father will soon be back from the front, but their mother thinks he's dead—at least that's what she tells three servants she hires. A voluptuous sense of melodrama colors everything in and around the scary house, though no sound or sight is without subtlety. Vast wide shots show the mansion enveloped in fog, isolated from the rest of the world in a way that echoes the compartmentalization of the interior—locking every door behind her before she opens the next, the woman gives us and her new employees a tour of the house, where nearly every curtain is drawn day and night. But in a nonrevisionist mystery, the payoff matters at least as much as the setup, and the secret of this 2001 feature is way too easy to guess. Written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar; with Nicole Kidman.

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