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The Others is a 2001 supernatural horror film directed by Alejandro Amenábar, and starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston and Fionnula Flanagan. It became the first English spoken film ever to receive the Best Film Award at Spain's Goya Awards.
The film is set on the British Channel Island of Jersey in the immediate aftermath of World War II, and follows devout Catholic Grace Stewart and her two young children, Anne and Nicholas, who both suffer from a rare disease which means that they cannot risk exposure to sunlight as it will be fatal to them. The arrival of three servants coincides with a number of odd and increasingly disturbing events - disembodied voices, strange noises and the children claiming to have seen several ghostly figures - causing Grace to fight to save her children while struggling to keep her sanity.
This film contains examples of:
- Adult Fear: Grace really freaks out whenever she believes her children are hurt or in danger.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Break the Cutie: Poor Lydia comes conveniently pre-broken.
- California Doubling: The film is set in Jersey, but the exterior shots of the mansion were filmed in Spain.
- Catapult Nightmare: Not exactly, but close: At the very beginning of the film, Grace is shown awaking from a nightmare (which the audience doesn't witness) by screaming her head off. Later events, however, imply that it was no dream - her ghost had just "woken up" from killing her own family and then herself.
- That very last point could be contested; Grace stated later in the film that, after she had smothered Anne and Nicholas and shot herself, she "awoke" to the exact same scene as the one she had witnessed before initiating the familicide: Anne and Nicholas were playing with the pillows in the playroom and Grace was watching them. She thought that God had "given her a second chance" at life and thus decided to suppress all knowledge of the event from both her and her children's minds. Therefore it is possible that Grace's ghost wasn't awakening from just having killed her family; she had simply had a nightmare/recollective dream about the event, and woke up screaming.
- Chekhov's Gun: The "book of the dead", not to mention Grace's rifle.
- Creator Cameo: Alejandro Amenábar appears as one of the photographed corpses in the book of the dead.
- Creepy Child: Anne has her moments.
- Dead All Along
- Deadpan Snarker: Anne. Also Bertha Mills, towards the end:
Grace: [in a state of hysteria] Someone has taken the curtains!
Mrs. Mills: I have noticed, ma'am. There's no need for you to raise your voice. [she sees Mr. Tuttle] Oh, Mr. Tuttle. I was just on the point of calling you. Did you know that someone has taken all the curtains?
- Demonic Possession: Anne possesses the old woman at one point, although it is completely unintentional on her part. It is quite possible that the old woman was allowing herself to be possessed.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Throughout the movie there is the palpable sense that something has happened in the house and that everyone knows something that they're not talking about - but what it is remains a mystery to each character and to the audience until the conclusion.
- The Ending Changes Everything
- Fantasy-Forbidding Mother: Grace initially acts like this towards Anne and Nicholas' belief in ghosts, and at one point tells Mrs. Mills that she dislikes "fantasies; strange ideas".
- Futureshadowing: Grace's reaction when she first picks up the rifle when attempting to hunt down the "intruders" foreshadows the film's Twist Ending.
- Coupled with Harsher in Hindsight is the twice-repeated, "Stop breathing like that... Stop breathing!"
- Haunted House: Both averted and played straight.
- Here We Go Again: The final shot of the film shows the gate leading to the house with a "For Sale" sign attached to it.
- Heroic BSOD: It is this that causes Grace to snap and kill her children and then herself prior to the events of the film, but she is also well on her way towards another one towards the end of the film. Also, Charles suffers one after returning home from the horrors of war.
- I See Them, Too: Mrs. Mills says this word-for-word to a highly upset Anne, when Grace is in severe denial about the presence of the "others".
- Infant Immortality: Subverted hard.
- Jerkass: Anne, arguably - she psychologically bullies her brother and is cruel to Lydia, making fun of the latter's muteness. However, her mother's way of raising her isn't exactly ideal, so that does explain a lot of the behaviour, and by the end Anne is firmly in Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
- Jump Scare: A few - the first shot of the mansion having its silence suddenly interrupted by Grace's ear-splitting scream, the part during the "piano room" scene when the door suddenly slams into Grace's face, knocking her backwards, and, of course, the old woman bursting into the cupboard.
- Madness Mantra: "We're not dead! WE'RE NOT DEAD!"
- "This house is ours. This house is ours."
- Mama Bear: Grace.
- Mirror Scare: Completely averted. There is a significant use of mirrors and reflections throughout the film, which may lead some viewers to believe that a Mirror Scare is going to be set up, but it isn't.
- Musical Spoiler: Averted. During the "piano room" scene, the film's scary score increases in volume, leading the viewer to believe that something frightening is about to happen. It doesn't. After a minute or so of tenseness, however, the Jump Scare does eventually happen - when there's no music playing.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Used throughout much of the film.
- Oh Crap: When Anne and Nicholas realise that they aren't alone when they are hiding in the cupboard.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Prophet Eyes: The old woman, although this is because she is (presumably) blind.
- Psychic Powers: The old woman, who turns out to be a medium.
- The Reveal: Not only are Mrs. Mills, Mr. Tuttle and Lydia all ghosts, but so are Grace and her family, and the "others" are, in fact, living people who have bought the house and, none too pleased about the fact that it is haunted, are using the services of the old woman to try and contact the spirits of Grace and her children.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Charles.
- Small Secluded World: Grace keeps her children locked in the house. And they don't grow up either, being her little children forever...
- Of course, now that they're dead, they're immune to the disease that kept them inside all of the time...
- The Speechless: Lydia is a mute. The reason why is not revealed until the ending: She became traumatised upon discovering that she and the two other servants are dead. There is a moment when she does make a valiant attempt to speak, but she just cannot get the words out, no matter how hard she tries.
- Spooky Photographs. And HOW.
- Tomato in the Mirror: ALL of the characters are ghosts, except for the "intruders" Anne keeps seeing. (They are alive).
- Twist Ending: Grace and the kids have been dead all along.
- Weakened by the Light: Because of a genetic disorder (Xeroderma pigmentosum), the kids cannot be exposed to sunlight or they might die. Or so they think; they are already dead, so it can't hurt them any more.
- Wham! Line: "Is that how she killed you?"