The Others: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray 4K]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Criterion Collection
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (14th January 2024).
The Film

"The Others" is a haunting psychological thriller that expertly navigates the realms of suspense and atmospheric horror. Released in 2001 written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar, the film stands as a testament to the power of subtlety and restraint in storytelling, delivering an emotionally charged experience that lingers long after the credits roll.

The narrative revolves around Grace Stewart, portrayed with impeccable nuance by Nicole Kidman, who resides in a dark, secluded mansion with her two light-sensitive children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley). The setting itself becomes a character, an imposing yet captivating presence that sets the stage for the film's brooding atmosphere. As the children begin to exhibit strange behaviors, Grace becomes increasingly convinced that their eerie home is haunted.

One of the film's standout strengths lies in its meticulous pacing and the gradual unfolding of the mystery. Amenábar skillfully weaves a web of tension, relying on suspense rather than jump scares to elicit fear. The slow burn allows for a rich exploration of the characters' psyche, enhancing the audience's emotional investment in the unfolding drama. Kidman's performance is a tour de force, capturing Grace's vulnerability and desperation with haunting authenticity.

The cinematography, helmed by Javier Aguirresarobe, is a masterclass in creating a visual language that complements the film's thematic depth. The use of muted colors and dimly lit interiors adds to the overall sense of foreboding, while clever camera work amplifies the feeling of isolation and confinement. Every frame is carefully composed, contributing to the film's gothic aesthetic.

Amenábar's script is a work of art, blending a classic ghost story with unexpected twists that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The revelations, when they come, are both surprising and poignant, challenging preconceived notions about the nature of haunting. "The Others" transcends the horror genre, delving into themes of loss, identity, and the consequences of unchecked fanaticism.

The film's score, composed by Amenábar himself, is an integral part of its success. The haunting melodies serve as a perfect complement to the eerie atmosphere, heightening the emotional impact of key scenes. The sound design, particularly the use of silence, is equally effective, creating an unsettling stillness that amplifies the sense of dread.

While "The Others" is a masterfully crafted film, it may not cater to those seeking conventional horror thrills or a fast-paced narrative. Some viewers might find the deliberate pacing a tad slow, but for those who appreciate a more contemplative approach to horror, the film's unhurried rhythm is a virtue.

"The Others" is a cinematic triumph that transcends the horror genre, offering a deeply atmospheric and emotionally resonant experience. Amenábar's direction, Kidman's captivating performance, and the film's overall craftsmanship coalesce to create a haunting masterpiece that stands the test of time. As a psychological thriller, it leaves an indelible mark, proving that true horror is often found in the shadows of the mind and it makes a welcomed addition to The Criterion Collection.


Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen this 4K image is presented in 2160p 24/fps using HVEC compression and features SDR, some may find the lack of HRD or Dolby Vision is a little frustrating as Criterion have not or rarely utilized these enhancements, despite this the transfer is a new digital restoration approved by the film's director. I suppose HDR and DV would have lightened the overall image which is counter to what the filmmaker indented as the film is meant to play with darkness, shadow, and dimly lit scenes are its strengths. The result is rather pleasing, the image is sharp, beautifully detailed and textured. The black levels are deep, grain is retained, colors are appropriately muted as intended and overall image is clean.


A single audio track is included in English Dolby Atmos 7.1 surround, one of the shining aspects of this film is its score and sound design that helps viewers get fully immersed. Dialogue is clean and clear, subtle surround details are beautifully mixed, score is well balanced. There's really nothing to complain about, this audio track is about as perfect as they come. Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired only.


The Criterion Collection continues to spoil cinephiles with a comprehensive collection of supplements, below is a closer look.


This disc features the film in its 4K presentation and is accompanied by an optional feature-length audio commentary with director/writer/composer Alejandro Amenábar in Spanish with optional English subtitles, this track was recorded in 2022. The filmmaker takes us through his creative process from the conception of the story, writing the script, on developing the look of the film, working with the cinematographer and the actors to help bring his vision to life. This is a solid track that takes viewers into the development process and offers some unique insight into the making of this film.


This second disc features the film in standard HD 1080p and includes the majority of the extras starting off with the same audio commentary with director/writer/composer Alejandro Amenábar in Spanish with optional English subtitles that is featured on the 4K disc.

Next up is a 2023 Conversation with director/writer Alejandro Amenábar and film critic Pau Gomez in Spanish, with English subtitles (36:32), this newly created supplement is a terrific interview covering the making of the film, the religious aspects, on using ghosts as a narrative device, among other things.

"A Look Back at The Others" 2023 documentary in Spanish and English with English subtitles when necessary (51:05) is another new feature that takes a retrospective look at the making of the film and features interviews with key cast and crew.

"The Making of "The Others" 2001 featurette in Spanish and English, with English subtitles when necessary (28:59) this is the original EPK clip that was produced when the film first made it's debut on DVD.

"On the Set" 2001 featurette in Spanish and English, with English subtitles when necessary (4:30) is fly-on-the-wall behind the scenes footage during the filming.

"Art Direction" 2001 featurette (with optional 2001 audio commentary by production designer/art director/set decorator Benjamín Fernández) in Spanish with English subtitles (2:27) takes a closer look at designing the film's aesthetic.

"Visual Effects" 2001 featurette in Spanish with English subtitles and features optional 2001 audio commentary by visual effects supervisor Félix Bergés (7:01), subtle VFX work was done on this film and this clip takes a look at these in close up.

"Recording the Soundtrack" 2001 featurette in Spanish with English subtitles (5:56) takes us into the recording sessions.

Photographing the Dead" featurette with optional audio commentary by director/writer/composer Alejandro Amenábar) in Spanish with English subtitles (3:05), takes us behind the scenes of a photo session.

Audition Footage in English without subtitles (3:10) is a collection of audition footage of the child actors Alakina Mann James Bentley.

Deleted Scenes in English without subtitles (8:09) is a collection seven cut scenes that were trimmed because they were not neccessary to the plot or for runtime reasons.

The disc also included the original theatrical trailer (2:22).

Finally the package includes a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Philip Horne and technical credits.


"The Others" is a modern masterpiece of suspense storytelling and this Criterion package is the best presentation of the film you will find. Add this to your collection immediately.

The Film: A+ Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: A+ Overall: A+


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