Stars: Nicle Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston
Director / Writer: Alejandro Amenabar
This elegantly creepy tale is created solely by exquisite mood, excellent acting and the kind of music that sends chills down your spine even before anything happens. That means, don’t look for big scary special effects attributed to most films of this genre; there are none and the film is a lot better for it.
The setting is a huge house on Jersey, one of the fog-shrouded Channel Islands, between Britain and France in 1945. Nicole Kidman plays Grace, the mother of two pasty-faced children (very well played by Alakina Mann as Anne and James Bentley as Nicholas) who supposedly suffer from an allergy to light. So she keeps them cooped up in the house with the curtains always drawn and the doors locked. They live alone because Grace’s husband has been missing in action from the war for quite some time, and the household servants mysteriously dispapeared weeks earlier. The house is also devoid of all means of communication with the outside world. This is one dark, dank, creepy place.
It’s not long before three new servants appear to help out and lots of things go bump in the night.
Lotta says: Kidman is excellent as the crazed and protective mother and I especially like Flanagan as the secretive new nanny. James Bentley, who plays the younger child, is especially effective when it comes to playing fear. Writer/Director Alejandro Amenabar has created a tighly wound world of psychological fright and imagination where even adults in the audience will want to pull the covers up over their heads. This ghost story packs a wallop.