Nicole Kidman has been tipped to land an Oscar nomination for her performance in this chilling ghost story, the third feature from rising Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar. (The director is best known here for his 1997 thriller "Open Your Eyes" ("Abre Los Ojos"), which has just been remade as the upcoming "Vanilla Sky".)
Let's hope Kidman's sterling work - as the young mother of two who comes to believe her creaky gothic mansion in Jersey is haunted - isn't overshadowed by her very public divorce from Tom Cruise, who co-produces here.
An atmospheric throwback to such classic thrillers as "The Cat and the Canary" and "The Spiral Staircase", "The Others" has much to commend it - not least the sight of farceur Eric Sykes, playing a sinister gardener who has more on his mind than Kidman's hydrangeas.
Kidman plays Grace, the slightly unhinged parent who finds her seclusion disturbed by the arrival of three new housekeepers and the return of her soldier husband (Eccleston) from the battlefields of the Second World War. The revelation that daughter Anne (Alakina Mann) has been communicating with apparitions only heightens her sense of unease, forcing her to question her sanity and contemplate a supernatural explanation for the unfolding events..
Shot in oppressive sepia amid near-darkness (Grace's children having a rare ailment that precludes exposure to sunlight), Amenábar racks up the tension to unbearable levels in a spooky shocker that's worthy of any comparison with M Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense". Film buffs should look out for the knowing nods to "Rebecca" and "The Shining".