How Does the Director of ‘the Others’ Establish the Gothic Genre and Make the Film a Scary Experience for the Viewer?

‘The Others’ is a psychological horror film directed by Alejandro Amenabar, released in 2001.   The film is partly based on Henry James’ classic novel ‘The turn of the screw’ and is set in Jersey off the coast of France in 1945.   It stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart, Alakina Mann and James Bentley as her two children Anne and Nicholas.   The Catholic mother lives with her two children in an old Victorian country house, she employs three servants, as her previous servants left her without notice.   A family of four then disrupts the household by haunting them which ultimately brings Grace to a whole new level of realisation about herself and her family.   This essay will show how the director establishes through the Gothic genre making ‘The Others’ a scary experience for the viewer.

Firstly I would like to show how the director creates the gothic setting in which ‘The Others’ takes place through which he can effect an atmosphere for the viewer.   One of the ways the director achieves this is through the use of lighting.   For instance, in the opening sequence, the director uses candlelight creating a dim outline of the children’s drawings.   This at the time creates in the viewer a sense of tension yet at the same time arousing a sense of peacefulness by using something heart felt such as a child’s drawing, whilst using lighting like candlelight that makes the viewer feel detached by creating shadows and a dense and gloomy atmosphere.
Another way the director creates the gothic setting is by the use of juxtaposition.   At the end of the opening scene the camera lingers on a child’s drawing of the country house which melts into the actual mansion which allows the viewer to focus on that, setting one emotional state as the camera suddenly switches and focuses on Grace (Kidman) screaming.   The effect on the viewer is like lulling them into a false sense of security before creating the atmosphere of shock.
Another important way the director takes the viewer through the...