Spain, France, Italy, USA


The island of Jersey, 1945. The Second World War is over
but Grace's husband has not returned from the front.
Alone in a remote Victorian mansion, she brings up her children within
the menacing constraints of her strict religious principles.
Her Young daughter and son also suffer from a strange illness:
they cannot be exposed to direct daylight.
When three new servants join the family, they must learn a vital rule:
the house must always be kept in semidarkness;
no door is to be opened before die previous one is closed.
The rigorous order imposed by Grace will be defied.
Grace, the children, and those around them will take a decisive, fateful step.

Director's Statement

My earliest memory of feeling a shiver of horror run down my spine at the cinema takes me back, in fact, to a childhood dream - dreaming is, after all, like watching a film. In this dream, hair-raising-howls announced the approach of an invisible presence, which crept along the hallway in my house towards the living room, where I lay curled into a terrified ball an the sofa.

I can't have been more than five years old, and now, when I think about it, and the fact that my childhood was beset with fears - fear of the dark, fear of half-open doors, fear of wardrobes and, generally speaking, fear of just about anything that could conceal someone or "something"-, I can't help being amazed that I should end up specializing in writing and directing mystery films as well as becoming an avid devotee of this genre.

Why do we take so much pleasure in fear? What's the great fascination about going through hell at the cinema? I believe that the impassable screen that, more than ever in the case of horror, keeps the spectator firmly in his side of the theatre, converts the shiver into a feeling at once unpleasant yet comforting and, without question, into one of the most intense.

It is dangerously easy for the filmmaker to go overboard and; amid spurting blood and special effects, turn the desired shiver into sheer revulsion. Being explicit - often just a question of budget, is far more superficial than suggestion or even omission. For me, leaving something to the imagination is the essence of die anxieties, the obsessions, even the paranoias, that lie latent in the collective consciousness. Wake them, and you will transport the spectator back to the darkest corners of his infancy ... to that shiver.

I think that many mystery stories tend to lend themselves to a religiously biased, moral interpretation, almost always in relation to sinfulness: the individual who tampers witth nature and who dares to overstep the bounds of the divine; the haunted house that is only purged of its curse when it explodes into a thousand pieces; in general, stereotypes of Good versus Evil.

In THE OTHERS I have attempted to approach the subject from quite the opposite angle. I have sought to achieve the greatest possible simplicity in terms of the plot and the dramatic effects (including the special effects) in contrast to the complexity of the characters. There are neither heroes nor villains. Only human beings, trying to find some meaning to their condition or their situation.
This film, full of long, dark.corridors, is my tribute to that being, never unmasked, that stalked the hallways of my dreams.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar

Written by: Alejandro Amenábar

Produced by: Fernando Bovaira, José Luis Cuerda, Sunmin Park

Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe

Editing: Nacho Ruiz Capillas

Original Score: Alejandro Amenábar

Cast: James Bentley (Nicholas Stewart), Fionnula Flanagan (Mrs. Bertha Mills), Eric Sykes (Mr. Edmund Tuttle), Nicole Kidman (Grace Stewart), Alakina Mann (Anne Stewart)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Film 2001