The Other (1972)

THE OTHER (1972)
Article 4548 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-30-2014
Directed by Robert Mulligan
Featuring Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky
Country: USA
What it is: Unsettling horror

A boy named Niles, his twin brother Holland, and his emotionally-delicate mother live with relatives on a farm. However, there are secrets and mysteries involved with the boys, and people will die before they are sorted out…

One thing that becomes readily apparent during the opening scenes of this movie is that the story is not going to be laid out for you in clear detail on a silver platter. Though there is at least one definite mystery that is clearly revealed (and which you’ll probably figure out in advance if you take note of the vast difference in how people interact with each of the two boys), it opens up further questions, and after a while, I began to doubt whether it would all ever be fully explained. In some movies this would bother me; in this one, it is highly intriguing, and it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a movie that fascinated me on so many levels; the movie is psychologically rich, very well acted and directed, and positively haunting. It’s interesting to speculate on the various aspects of the movie – What is the game, and why is it significant? Is the ring an active or passive force in the movie? Can Nile’s memories be fully trusted? Are we dealing with ghosts, multiple personalities, and/or psychic powers? I wouldn’t be surprised if different people came up with different theories as to what is actually happening, and that’s part of what I loved about this one. This one is highly recommended. Incidentally, writer (of both the screenplay and the novel on which it is based) Tom Tryon is remembered to fans of fantastic cinema for having appeared in I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE.

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