If there's one thing that the cinema has taught us over the years,
it's that old blind people are seriously creepy.
Sometimes they're old blind witches stirring a pot of scrumptious yummies
for Harry Hamlin, other times they're eating pages of a book in front
of Sean Connery. But in any and all cases, they are creepy, secretive,
and up to no good.
The latest member to the creepy, milky-eyed club is the quiet little
crone who is scaring the bejeesus out of Nicole Kidman and her children
in the new 'Boo!' flick, The Others.
Nicole stars as a woman alone in a house with two kids. It's a big
house, and so amazingly spooky in its eccentricities you wonder why
Nicole doesn't realize she's in for the scare of her life in the first
frame. Turns out her servants vanished without a trace last week and poor
Nicole's been left to herself. Luckily for her, three servants show
up at her door ready to do the chores, and we have ourselves a cast.
Nicole has two kids, but they both suffer from a condition where they
can't be exposed to direct sunlight, much like Robert Smith of The Cure.
What this gives us is a really big house with a bunch of locked doors
that is kept in a state on constant darkness.
Yeah, like that's the perfect set-up for a romantic comedy.
Surprise, surprise, Nicole, her kids and her servants aren't alone in
the house. Someone else seems to be there. The Others. And The others
include a damn fine creepy old blind woman.
This is a scary movie. There are a few scares that most of the audience
only saw through their fingers. The film is written and directed by
Spanishwunderkind, Alejandro Amenabar (forgive me for not getting the
proper accent marks over the letters- blame it on the limitations of
poor word processing software). Alejandro does all the right things in
getting us to jump, scream, cringe and chortle. All under the confines of
a PG-13 rating! Which means, much like the last few months of American
politics, there ain't much Gore going on. So where Jan de Bont would
show a cgi-generated yuck-mouth howling for the flesh of the living,
Alejandro just has a door slam itself shut for no reason.
Which is twice as scary, if you ask me.
Nicole Kidman is wonderfully oblique as the possibly mad Grace. She gives
us hints of reality lovingly gift-wrapped in an ever-present dementia.
Plus she's hot, which is always important in a scary flick. The kids
are convincingly young. You've got the bratty little girl and the wimpy
little boy, kinda like if Charlie Brown and Lucy were stranded in a
haunted house together.
But the star of the flick is the spooky old blind woman. Her eyes are
all milked over, her hair sticks out at odd angles. She's the evil
grandma tempting the kiddies to come to the gingerbread house and sit
down in the oven all over again.
What's even more fun than a barrel of monkeys about this pic is that
it's produced by Tom Cruise. Mr. Ex-Kidman himself. So he basically
set up this movie for his wife to spend the entire shoot locked up in an
old castle miles away from the nearest hot-blooded man while he signed
up for Vanilla Sky and melted away with Latin yummy Penelope Cruz.
"Nicole Honey? How's the movie going?"
"Fine, Tom. We spent all day shooting a scene between myself and a
possessed piano. You?"
"Got naked with Penelope Cruz. For the movie, of course."
"K, love ya lots. Buh-bye."
And we're surprised there was a divorce?
Meanwhile, the movie is uncommonly spooky. The set literally begs to
jump out from behind you, the characters all hold evil secrets deep
within their souls and even the damn fog scares the living crap out of ya.
You really know this flick is destined for eeriness from the get-go when
we meet the new servants, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Tuttle (I absolutely love that
name) and a mute person.
"Hi. We're the creepy new servants who have conveniently stopped by
now that your other servants have vanished. Have you met the mute?"
So to sum up. Old blind women, creepy. New servants, creepy. Huge,
empty English manor, creepy. Nicole Kidman, sexy and creepy.
The Others is a jolly good chill of a film. Do yourself a favor and try
not to guess the super-secret surprise ending. And if you do guess it,
do yourself a favor and don't yell it out in the theater for everyone
to hear. You might be wrong.
I'm giving The Others 4 Babylons. I'd give it more, but I'm too scared.
I've learned my lesson about going to scary movies with the SMC- I can
still smell poo from when I accompanied him to The Blair Witch Project.
Directed By: Alejandro Amenabar
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Eric Sykes, Alakina Mann, James Bentley, One Damn Creepy Old Blind Woman and the ghost of Nicole Kidman's marriage.