Despite being in an audience almost as bad as the one with which I saw The Sixth Sense, I managed to enjoy The Others, a creepy, moody, slow-building ghost story. Grace (Nicole Kidman) and her two children, Anne and Nicholas (Alakina Mann, James Bentley), live in a big ol' house in the Channel Islands in 1945. Grace's house servants mysteriously take off in the middle of the night. Luckily, or oddly, three folks show up at the door looking for work as servants. Hmmm. Grace hires them, and creepiness ensues. Anne starts claiming she sees other people in the house. Then everyone starts hearing noises. Then... well... things get really scary.
Like I said, the movie is slow to build. For those with tiny little attention spans--much like my audience of people who most likely got sold out of American Pie 2 and bought a ticket for The Others since they were already at the theater anyway--this movie is not for you. I find that the quiet, slow development makes the scary parts all the more scary. It even worked with these numskulls in the crowd, too. Alejandro Amenabar's directing is great: it takes its time, but not in a self-indulgent way. The cinematography by Javier Aquirresarobe is superb: constant candlelight and the occasional daylight dripping through thick curtains (the children are photosensitive, deathly allergic to bright light). Also well done was the sound design, with its echoed whispers and creaking and bumps-in-the-night.
For a quiet, intelligent ghost story, I highly recommend The Others. Bring a change of underwear.