The Others (2001) (Special 2 Disc Edition)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-A Look Inside The Others
Featurette-Visual Effects Piece
Featurette-Xeroderma Pigmentosum: What Is It?
Featurette-An Intimate Look At Director Alejandro Amenabar
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Alejandro Amenabar|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Others is the best horror film I've seen in a very long time. This is in part because it is horror created by atmosphere rather than by the more common approach which relies on some nasty person/spirit/demon/vampire/monster/creature or whatever going on a rampage that results in liberal amounts of bright red gore splashed all over the screen. That's not to say that that method doesn't evoke a sense of horror, because certainly it does. But let's face it, to generate a true feeling of dread, purely from the atmosphere that's created by a fog-shrouded isolated house occupied by a number of mysterious characters, takes a much greater level of skill.
There is something in this house. Something diabolic. Something which is not at rest.
In The Others we find Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) as the mother of two severely photosensitive children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicolas (James Bentley). This is such a severe problem that exposure to anything stronger than candle light will cause them to break out in blisters and to begin to suffocate, ultimately resulting in their deaths. Consequently, the old isolated mansion in which they live is kept in a state of almost continual darkness. The doors between the rooms are kept locked to avoid the children inadvertently entering a room in which the shutters have not been closed and the drapes drawn.
The story begins with the arrival of 3 servants: Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes) and Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) at the doorstep seeking employment. Which is timely indeed, as the previous servants had mysteriously disappeared a few days before, leaving Grace alone in the house with her children. Grace's husband has gone off to the war a year and a half earlier and, even though the war has now ended, there has been no news of him.
We've all heard stories of the beyond now and then and I think that sometimes the world of the dead gets mixed up with the world of the living.
Before long, all the occupants hear strange noises coming from unoccupied rooms, doors open or close by themselves, and Anne reports seeing a boy named Victor (Alexander Vince). Grace initially refuses to believe Anne's stories but, upon experiencing some of these strange events, comes to believe that there is an intruder in the house. A thorough search by Grace, with the aid of the servants, turns up no one. There is obviously more to this house then is immediately evident, but just what is going on here? If you're intrigued by stories that have a different perspective, or just like a chillingly effective horror story, then either way this is a movie for you.
Aside from his role as director, Alejandro Amenábar also wrote this story and composed the music. He does a superb job in the first two roles and still manages a workman-like effort in the third. Nicole Kidman really steals the show with her intense performance as the slightly unbalanced mother. Alakina Mann also puts in a very convincing effort as the precocious daughter.
I've always believed in those things. They're not easy to explain but they do happen.
This is an excellent transfer which is free from any serious defects. The transfer is identical to the one used for the rental version of the movie.
The transfer has been made in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This aspect ratio is very close to the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1.
Low level noise is absent from this transfer and I'm happy to report that image is sharp at all times. This a very dark film which uses very solid blacks, but this has not resulted in any compromise in the shadow detail. On occasion there is evidence of some edge enhancement, but this is very minor, and therefore does not significantly detract from what is otherwise an very pleasing image.
In keeping with the nature of the film, the colour palette on display here is very limited and features mostly earthy tones and generally dull colours such as black, grey, brown and green. The rich skin tones provide a striking contrast to the dull backgrounds, and consequently look particularly stunning.
This transfer is free of any MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts were limited to two or three instances of some very minor aliasing which could be easily overlooked. Film artefacts were limited to a handful of very small white marks and some faint film grain.
Two subtitles streams are provided: English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled 10 minutes of each and can happily report that they appear to be word-perfect. Furthermore they are displayed in easily legible white text and are well synchronised with the dialogue.
On this RSDL disc the layer change occurs at 66:52 which coincides with the chapter changing from 13 to 14. Unfortunately it is quite noticeable, mainly because the music stops momentarily. Five minutes later there is a perfect spot during a fade to black which could have been used to disguise the layer change.
A very nice audio transfer, which just like the video, is free from any major problems.
There's only a single English audio track provided which is a Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded.
The dialogue was perfectly intelligible at all times and there were no problems with the audio sync. It was also nice to see British accents used by all the actors, even those who are not native Brits, in keeping with the setting of the story.
There wasn't a lot of music in this film which relied significantly and quite effectively on silence to add to the eerie atmosphere which is a necessity for any good horror film. The music, composed by Alejandro Amenábar, varies from quiet, moody little snippets, very effective in enhancing the atmosphere, to more powerful pieces used to underscore suspenseful moments in the story.
While not in continuous use, the surround channels, as well as the front left and right channels, were used very effectively; mainly for the sounds of ghostly voices, banging doors and other haunted house effects, and additionally for the musical score.
The subwoofer didn't really play a big part in the sound design of this particular movie. It was used, when necessary, to underscore the louder sound effects and in support of the musical score.
|Surround Channel Use|
Unlike the rental disc, which was devoid of extras, the sell-through version is a two disc set which means there's a whole disc with a swag of extras. Disc 1 is dedicated to the movie and disc 2 contains all the extras.
Both discs feature 1.78:1 aspect ratio menus which are 16x9 enhanced and have both animation and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. There's also an animated introduction sequence before the menu appears on Disc 1.
Displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio, this featurette contains many interviews with the actors including Nicole Kidman, Alakina Mann, and Fionnula Flanagan. Additionally, there are interviews with Alejandro Amenábar and various producers including Tom Cruise. The interviews are cut with clips from the film.
This is quite a good demonstration of how the special effects and live action shots are combined to provide the finished result which we see in the movie. The aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.
A interesting look into this serious but very rare disease, which features interviews with a young sufferer and her parents, as well as a professor of dermatology. The aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.
This features behind the scenes footage, showing various scenes being shot, but is mainly focused on the director as he gives direction to the actors. The aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.
There's almost 100 stills from the movie and behind the scenes. Aspect ratio is 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. There's no audio.
A typical trailer which is in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and therefore not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 and Region 1 Special Editions (2 disc sets) are essentially identical, except the R1 has a French Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track and Spanish subtitles instead of the additional English subtitles on our local version.
The Others is an excellent movie which is well constructed and equally well acted. It's Nicole Kidman's best effort to date. What's more, it's a horror story told from a rather unique perspective which makes it all the more interesting, not to mention thought provoking.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent.
Extras? There's a whole disc full of interesting extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300|