This is Halloween

As I mentioned with my Insidious blog a little while ago, I am determined to make the most of the Halloween season this year. So with October arriving....it begins. If I'm watching a movie at all this month, I'm going to make it a scary one....or a Halloween themed one. Tonight AMC aired a double feature of the underrated 2001 Nicole Kidman vehicle, The Others, and the 2003 Dennis Quaid/Sharon Stone "thriller" Cold Creek Manor. As I mentioned with the Insidious blog, well-made scary movies are pretty few and far between. And this double feature perfectly illustrated both ends of the spectrum. The Others is a simple, understated yet stylish ghost story...great when it came out ten years ago (oh my!) and still holds up today. Cold Creek Manor is just a preposterous piece of crap. And I'm not even through the movie yet. In fact, I just kept it going on AMC after The Others was over while beginning this blog to continue on in the scary movie tone. But it reminded me more of Thanksgiving than Halloween...because this movie is one big turkey. Haha

Watching the crappy latter film made all of the strengths that I came here to write about The Others stand out even more. As I mentioned, The Others is simple. It doesn't over-complicate things. While some might have issues with the pacing, (and I myself wish one certain subplot could have been a bit tighter) it does deliver some genuinely creepy moments...and when it gets near the end it really gets rolling. It's unfortunate that it was so close to when The Sixth Sense was released... yes there was a two year gap, but Sense was so powerful and stayed so much in the minds of people that many instantly dismissed this as being some sort of a rip-off or lesser version. It's not. It is its own film that works largely due to Nicole Kidman's gripping performance.

Technically, as a whole, the film is very well-made. Everyone aside from Kidman too, turn in solid performances, the direction is beautiful, and the perfect mood is set throughout that leads itself right into its clever finale. For good suspense films to work, most importantly they need to be focused. If a movie doesn't know what it's trying to be, an audience doesn't really know what to make of it either. What does that make? A pretty messy, uneven film. The thing about The Others is that it's not just a pretty decent movie of its genre, it's a pretty decent film period because it gets so much right.

Not that I had high expectations with Cold Creek Manor or anything...but I could have saved myself a lot of "stupid movie induced headaches" by reading up about it online before investing the time. I'm not even going to waste your time in analyzing it...I'm just going to say that it's awful and you can take my word for it. That's why you always should check out IMDB ratings and Rotten Tomatoes scores. The proof is in the pudding: Here are scores for The Others: IMDB rating - 7.7/10, Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%. Cold Creek Manor? IMDB rating - 4.8/10, Rotten Tomatoes score: 12%. Yeah...seriously these two sites basically always have the right idea. Gotta include two of my favorite RT blurbs because they're just too clever:

"As scary and predictable as a trip to the supermarket."
"The real suspense is whether or not we will ever get to the end of this movie."

Anyway, even though Manor was awful, The Others is a very good watch and a nice way to ring in the Halloween season. Let the creepy times roll!

Oh and the Emily ratings? The Others 8/10, Cold Creek Manor 2/10


Joey said...

Scariest movie that I saw this year was "Night of the Hunter." Love it when I finally get around to watching a classic and it's every bit as good as people have said it was for decades.

Robert Mitchum is amazing and some of the shots are almost like a piece of art, but not in a detracting way. Recommend that to anyone.

Sarah said...

But now what title are you going to use if you talk about Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas?

I really enjoy The Others too. Nicole Kidman does a great job and looks lovely doing it. It is unfortunate that it was released so close to The Sixth Sense. The similarities made the second film kind of fade into obscurity.

I was just thinking the other day about how creepy 1408 is. And I saw some parts of Disturbia on the other day too. Good Halloween flicks.

As for classics, I know I've mentioned this one before, but you can't beat the 1960's version of The Haunting (the original--the 90's remake is crap). You should check that one out if you haven't already.

Then, of course, most anything Hitchcock sets the proper Halloween mood.

Joey said...

Sarah did not like it but one of the scariest movies I have seen is "The Innocents." You can't beat possessed children for scary.

Sarah said...

I just couldn't get over the fact that Deborah Kerr's character had to kiss a little boy on the mouth for the movie. Ewwww. It creeped me out...in a different way...a non-Halloween way.

The book and the opera (both entitled "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James, which "The Innocents" is just retitled) are equally creepy (and since they don't include the kiss, I enjoy them a lot more!).