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banner Friday, 2 November, 2001, 12:45 GMT
Kidman shines in supernatural horror
Nicole Kidman confronts her worst fears
The Others plays with your emotions until the very end
By BBC News Online's Keily Oakes

Occasionally a film comes along to debunk the theory that horror audiences want to be reviled by blood and guts rather than good old-fashioned suspense.

Sixth Sense was one of those films that captured the imagination with an almost Mousetrap-like pledge never to give the ending away.

And The Others is another in that mould that draws you in and plays with your emotions until the very end.

Nicole Kidman's latest offering is as far-removed from Moulin Rouge as possible but displays what a talented and versatile actress she really is.

The film is also co-produced by her ex-husband Tom Cruise, so one can only imagine the on-set tension.

Alakina Mann and James Bentley play Kidman's put upon children
The child actors put in a sterling effort
The supernatural action is centred entirely in a Victorian mansion on the island of Jersey as World War II is in its final throes.

Our "heroine" Grace awaits the return of her husband from the battle while looking after their children, who must not come in contact with sunlight because of their photosensitivity.

As odd behaviour begins to occur in the house it soon becomes clear it is haunted but Grace refuses to believe her daughter, played by Alakina Mann, when she says she has made contact.

The arrival of three servants offering to look after the place brings with it more unexplainable happenings.

When the already unstable Grace can no longer ignore the house's craziness, we begin to witness her descent into madness as her religious convictions are questioned and she desperately tries to keep a grip on reality.

It is obvious the the servants are not what they seem but are they fighting Grace or a common enemy?

Kidman's role in this film could not be more different from her portrayal of Satine in Moulin Rouge
Kidman has a superb English accent
The film does takes a while to get going as the scene is set for supernatural horror inside the beautiful house.

But once the drama is under way it is gripping stuff, with a sense of unease that leaves you questioning reality.

There is no blood and guts in this chilling tale but that allows the imagination to go into overdrive, with real "hiding behind the sofa" moments.

Kidman puts in a splendid performance, with a perfect English accent, as the disturbed mother waiting for her husband (Christopher Eccleston).

She gives the impression that she almost loves her children too much as they are suffocated by their overprotective mother.

And the acting from the three servants, ably led by Fionnula Flanagan, adds to the suspense.

The direction from Alejandor Amenábar provides subtle mood changes and growing tension.

And special credit should go to the child actors, Mann and James Bentley, who put in a sterling effort as the put upon son and daughter.

After the first 15 minutes, The Others becomes exciting viewing, showing off the extraordinary talent of Kidman and makes Amenábar one to watch out for.

See also:

04 Nov 01 | Reviews
The Others: Your views
03 Aug 01 | Film
The Kidman and Sykes show
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