The Innocents 👻
*** spoilers ahead ***
When making my 31 horror movie list, I had in my head that the 2001 Nicole Kidman movie The Others was a direct remake of The Innocents (1961). This idea stemed purely from their superficial similarities: stories of blonde women tasked with caring for two young children in a spooky mansion. In fact, The Others is heavily inspired by The Turn of the Screw, but not an adaptation like The Innocents. Regardless of the similar premise and themes, they have different plots. While the ending of The Others relies on a twist, The Innocents bets on ambiguity.
The Innocents' opaque ending is not for everyone; it allows the viewer to draw their own conclusion. Was the governess going mad or were there really ghosts haunting Bly manor and corrupting the children? I'm a believer. How did the boy die in the end if not due to the presence of the ghosts? The kids were too precocious to not be under a spirit or two's influence. They were delight to watch, thanks to the writing and their acting. As Miles, Martin Stephens gives one of the best performances from a child actor that I've seen. His scenes with Deborah Kerr, especially, were a good sit.
Kerr, too, gives a strong showing, pulling off some great confused and frightened faces. Director Jack Clayton delivers a creeping terror throughout. He not only makes great use of the shadows but also the unnerving sound design. The film is sufficiently creepy with its minimal but effective ghost sightings, something some modern horror could learn from...
Last year I couldn't get through the miniseries adaptation from Netflix: The Haunting of Bly Manor. As a series, it's drawn out into a mediocre bore. I only just skipped to the final episode for this review and out of curiosity. The only good thing I fear I missed was the build up to the lead's lesbian romance, which featured in the later half of the finale. But maybe the queerness was a just minor backdrop in the episodes I passed by. If it's a good ghost story you want, I say: try The Innocents first.
This has been day 4 of 31 days of horror. For the full schedule click here.