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Movie Review

The Others also known as “Los otros,” “Les autres,” “Os Outros,” “Digerleri,” “Ha-Aherim,” “Inni,” “Más világ,” “Oi alloi,” “Teised,” Άλλοι, Oι,” “Другие”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and frightening moments.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
15 to Adult
Suspense Horror
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 10, 2001
Copyright, Dimension Films click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films

ghosts in the Bible


Final judgment


FEAR, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

AFRAID OF THE DARK—How can I help my child to trust in God’s care when she is afraid at night? Answer


HELL—What does the Bible teach? Answer

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Why was Hell made? Answer

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer

What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer

THE GOOD NEWS—How to be saved from Hell. Answer

CATHOLICISM: What are some of the ways in which the Bible and the Roman Catholic church differ? Answer

THE OCCULT: What does the Bible say about it? Answer

REINCARNATION: What does the Bible say? Answer

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Featuring: Nicole Kidman (Grace Stewart), Fionnula Flanagan (Mrs. Bertha Mills), Christopher Eccleston (Charles Stewart), more »
Director: Alejandro Amenabar
Producer: Cruise/Wagner Productions, Sociedad General de Cine (SOGECINE) S.A., more »
Distributor: Miramax Films

“Sooner or later they will find you.”

No, I personally don’t believe in ghosts. But I do like a good ghost story. I fondly remember many heard around the cubscout campfire. If you can separate the biblical truth concerning eternity and the fantasy of a good yarn, then “The Others” may be just for you.

There are many things that I liked about this film even before I saw it. The budget was a mere $17 million, proving that a low budget does not mean low quality. Another likeable element is that this episode of the ghost files does not contain any special effects. Can a film keep our attention without the assault of CGI technology? Goosebumps come in droves with only sounds, screams, and the haunting question of “what’s on the other side of that door.”

“The Others” is a low-key and well-photographed movie with lots of style, one which plays on your imagination and certainly toys with your fears. Writer/Director Alejandro Amenabar came up with a great story. Instead of contending with the things that get bumped off in the middle of the night (thanks to Dimension Films and others) the scares come from things that go bump in the night. Amenabar knows how to push all the right buttons and give us a thrill with a definite twist.

Nicole Kidman as Grace, the over-protective mother, may as well be given the Oscar® award right now. She is outstanding in this role. Living in an isolated mansion on the island of Jersey just off the British coast, her photosensitive children Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley) are forced to darkness because a strong dose of sunlight could be lethal. Grace has set about to keep the house dark and very structured for their protection. She homeschools her children in the Catholic view of scripture and other academic lessons. Their care is overwhelming and her present servants have left without notice. This problem is remedied when three servants respond to Grace’s advertisement for domestic help. Our trio of helpers is supervised by Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan). Slowly we begin to witness clues that the house may be haunted.

The children have seen the evidence of apparitions several times, but they cannot convince their mother. She underscores lessons from scripture to counter Anne and Nicholas’s fears. She teaches them that what they see is impossible. We have the children’s questions about the afterlife answered from Grace’s devoutness. This film, set in 1945, provides many classic Catholic teachings on eternity and the supernatural. One of those views is that there are four levels of Hell. The place of punishment for the damned is first. This is where the Devil and his demons will go. Secondly, Limbo of the Infants (limbus parvulorum) is for children who are not baptized. Thirdly, Limbo of the Fathers (limbus patrum) is for those who died before Christ. Finally, Purgatory is for those who die in sin and still owe a debt.1 While this is certainly not the Protestant Christian’s view of Hell, the theme is true to the belief system of the film.

I would caution parents with children because of this strong undercurrent. It almost has a stronger plot point than the other supernatural elements. It is one thing to accept the fact that there are no ghosts and on the other hand cast a fog over Biblical Doctrine.

Nicole Kidman in “The Others”Our heroine is grieving the uncertainty of a husband that never returned from war. We have all of the elements to stir up suspense. Where is the true source of the apparent intruders in the house? Well, I’m not going to spoil it for you! You will have to be patient as you enjoy the ride. CGI addicts may find this film slow and boring. If that describes you, you may want to cruise through McDonalds and catch “The Mummy Returns” again.

“The Others” contains almost no language, violence, or sex. That is truly amazing for a PG-13 film! And be sure to take the PG-13 warning: this pic is far too creepy for children. The scenes are disturbing and very intense. My age suggestion would be for those 15 and up. I do recommend this movie to those that are discerning enough to separate fact from fiction. If you have any doubts about what you believe concerning life after death or eternity—avoid this film. But if those questions are settled based on what the Bible teaches, “The Others” can be very entertaining. It is much better than most horror/slasher films (generally not a tough standard to meet). It would be nice to see the Limbo pole raised.

Footnote: The Roman Catholic teachings on hell mentioned in the film are obtained from Pre-Vatican II Catholic Church teaching (not the current view held or taught by the church). [return]

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—This was a pretty good ghost story considering the usual junk Hollywood produces. The idea that there are ghosts dwelling among us of course is used in this fictional movie. The main character teaches her children (a daughter and son) values of the Bible, however; she does instruct them what must be Catholic views of Hell (Such as purgatory, limbo, etc.).

When the family realizes that there are ghosts in the house, the daughter asks the mother about Heaven, and the mother says basically that she isn’t really sure what she believes anymore, since the ghosts should be in Heaven and not roaming around the house.

This is how my view and my paraphrasing the main characters thoughts during this scene, but I think it was obvious that the movie wanted to show a contrast with the woman’s beliefs about the afterlife once she comes to the conclusion that there are ghosts in the house. If you like a cool ghost story and weren’t offended by movies like “The Sixth Sense,” then I would recommend this movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Tom, age 32
Positive—Good old fashion ghost story with a mix of the “Sixth Sense.” For those of you who like to be chilled, check it out. Its only objection is the anti-Christian message which underline the plot.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Mang, age 28
Positive—A classic ghost story! A fairly clean movie (no bad language, violence, or sex) but it does contain the Catholic view of Hell. And, of course, the ghosts.

This movie is great because it takes care to build suspense and bring you along without having to use cheap thrills. I saw this with several friends and we all loved it. The audience jumped several times at different points in the movie so the scares are well earned. In the end this movie left me entertained and unoffended.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Jim, age 26
Positive—Chilling! That’s my word for “The Others”. I just went out tonight with my father to see the movie, and it was incredibly well-filmed, with chest-tightening suspense and a knock out of an ending. The entire cast was magnificent, and played their roles quite well. More than a few times I felt a sense of cold dread creep over me, and more than a few times I jumped in my seat, along with the other audience members in the theater.

I highly recommend this movie, but I don’t think it is for children under thirteen. There is too much suspense and the atmosphere is literally a blanket of darkness… and you do not know what is lurking within it! There is no sex, a minimum of violence, no vulgarity, no nudity. it’s sad that Hollywood can make a horror film without any of the above, but cannot repeat this kind of production in its other movies.

I really liked this movie, and I think you should hit the theaters to see it. The darkness around you only adds to the gloom of the film and builds atmosphere. I personally do not believe in “ghosts” but this film was very intriguing.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Amber, age 20
Positive—This movie will definitely keep your attention and it has spooky moments but when you see the ending it will remind you of a movie that came out not so long ago called The… Oh, I just can’t tell you—it would ruin everything. But you will know which movie I’m talking about when you see this one.

There are some offensive places in it. There is no cursing nor any sex that is shown. However, the inspiration of the Bible is being attacked and you need to know what you believe and why you believe it when you see this movie.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4½]
—Scott McCullar, age 26
Positive—I did not expect to enjoy this movie, but I was surprised—it was good. Theologically, it is wrong, and all the problems could have been alleviated if they had prayed over the house. However, the movie would have been over in five minutes if they’d done that. It was nice not to see any gore, sex, graphic violence, etc. It WAS scary, however!

This is an adult movie, but only adult in subject matter—not in immoral behaviors. While there are some very obvious religious put-downs, I am confident that believers will NOT have their faith challenged by this movie! Non-believers won’t be turned off to religion in my opinion, unless they are thinking of converting to pre-Vatican II Catholicism. Interesting movie. PS—Although my age looks old in print, we have six children from ages 6 to 23, so I try to stay aware of what is going on in the world!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—V Surges, age 52
Neutral—The movie created and sustained a genuinely frightening tone until almost the end. Once the big “secret” was revealed, the movie didn’t really stick with me in any experiential sense. I think the movie was strong on a moral level, because the one major character who treats everyone kindly, Mrs. Mills, is not evil though she has an unusual secret…
My Ratings: [3½]
—Rounsaville, age 53
Comments from young people
If you liked “The Sixth Sense,” you’ll love this! I enjoyed this movie from the start. It opens with a Catholic mother (Nicole Kidman) is reading the bible to her two children! The story was greatly written, complex and full of surprises! Nicole Kidman isn’t one of my favorite actresses but she was superb in this chilling film.

There is one non-christian event that takes place in this movie (I won’t say what it is!) but nothing sexual or anything. There is one use of the word D*** but she says the house is Damned so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Overall, this movie was a pleasant surprise that I will definitely see again!
My Ratings: [5]
—Monica, age 15
I’m 13, and I love a good scary movie, but the problem is finding one with a decent rating. When I first saw the trailor, and found out it was only PG (in Canada its lower) I knew I had to see it. The reviewer recommended the film for 15 or older, but I really think it depends on how mature you are and if you can handle a scare or two (well, maybe a few more in this movie!).

I know a lot of kids my age and even younger that could handle this movie. It is about the ONLY movie these days that does not use the Lord’s name in vain, has absolutely no swear words (except for the word damned but it wasn’t really used in a inappropriate manner) no sex or gore. This movie shows you that a movie doesn’t need a huge budget and great special affects to be a hit! I do not think a lot of Christians will be offended by this movie and I definitely recommend seeing it!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Elivia, age 13
This movie is one of the best that I have seen over the summer! It delivers the chills and thrills, and finishes off with one of the most twisty endings that I have ever seen before in my life! You will be totally blown away! There are a few things that deal with the occult in this film, but it’s nothing to be overly concerned about. This film is quite disturbing and is not recommended for children under 13. Certainly a must see!
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Adam, age 19
Negative—The WHOLE point of this movie was that God is a superstition people teach their children and we only believe it because that’s what we were taught. In this movie, the wise children don’t believe all this nonsense their mother is trying to teach them, and, in the end, they are shown to be right. It is a blatant attack on Christianity.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4]
—Diana, age 38
Negative—The reason this film is heartbreaking is because it is ruined solely by its anti-christian message. There is no language, sex, or gore, WHATSOEVER. This is very rare for a horror movie, and refreshing! But the whole point of the movie is that religion in not trustworthy, and superstitious mysticism should be accepted.

It is so sad that such an appropriately made horror movie, nearly one-of-a-kind, has such a heretical message. Just because there’s no such thing as ghosts doesn’t mean ghost stories are never appropriate; Christians accept lots of fantasy forms. But this movie is specific about undermining God.

Granted, the woman is Roman Catholic and already believes heresy, so at least it’s not true Christianity that is being frowned upon. But replacing one heresy with another accomplishes nothing. Replace it with the truth!

The heresy is not exactly prevalent, but definitely a significant point of the movie.

With that said, if you’re a mature Christian looking for a well-made ghost movie that has none of the objectionable content that most horror movies have, and if you can overlook the heresy of the movie, you’ll like it. But I only recommend it for discussion purposes among mature Christians.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Gabriel Mohler, age 25 (USA)
Negative—“The Others” turned out to be nothing but hype, in my opinion. I think the acting was well done, but the story lacked anything really interesting, until the end. When all is uncovered, you get someone’s view that Heaven really doesn’t exist and the Bible is a fairy tale just like other books. Obviously, as Christians we believe that there is a Heaven and that there aren’t any ghosts roaming around us. I should have known that this movie was going to have something strange in it when I saw Tom Cruise’s name in the production credits.

The movie even tried to somewhat rip-off the [Film Title Deleted] ending. How a director can be comfortable with that is beyond me! Also, if Christians are so accepting of this movie and its anti-Bible or anti-Christian type message why do I see so many people going out of their way to bash movies like Rush Hour 2? It was a complete waste of 2 hours and it makes absolutely no sense to me!
My Ratings: [Average / 1½]
—Ron Coley, age 26
Comments from young people
I thought this was an okay movie. It had some creepy parts. Although most of the scary stuff doesn’t happen until the end of the movie. But there is a good twist at the end, and it is worth seeing. There was very little language and not a whole lot of objectional material. This movie is about as good as the Sixth Sense. If you like scary movies go see it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Aaron Arneson, age 16
Movie Critics
…all sorts of material that’s likely to come off as unsettling, suspenseful and/or downright frightening to many viewers…
…1 mild obscenity, 7 religious exclamations…
…the first real nail biter this year…
—Gayle Bass, Arizona Central
Although the film includes many elements that appear positive on the surface, such as quoting Bible passages and Catholic traditions, the film actually implies Christian beliefs are, at best, fiction.
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…doesn’t ignore Christian beliefs… its strong occult worldview overtly attacks the Christian beliefs of its conflicted heroine, Grace. The upshot of this worldview is that there is really no Heaven or Hell and that dead people continue to live and can achieve redemption for their sins on their own power and merit instead of Christ’s. Thus, the movie’s worldview rejects Christianity and contains false religious notions about redemption and the afterlife…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide