In the summer of 1935, 12-year-old twins Niles and Holland Perry live with their family on a Connecticut farm. Their loving grandmother Ada has taught them something called "the game." A number of accidents begin happening, and it seems to Niles that Holland is responsible. It is Ada who begins to see the truth, and she is the only one who can stop this macabre game of murder. Written by
As the film needed to take place during summer, the small town of Murphys, California, was substituted for shooting instead of on location in Connecticut. See more »
Although the story takes place in Connecticut, it betrays its California shooting location in the flashback scene to the boys' birthday. It is supposed to be the middle of March but all the trees in the yard are in full bloom as they never can be in late winter in New England. See more »
There is no other like "The Other." A masterpiece of stark, deliberate madness.
Seldom does a movie capture the pure essence of the novel from which it is derived. This is especially true with classic tales of terror. "The Shining" and "The Exorcist" are two blatant examples of mega-movies that "sold out" with inane dialogue, cheap scare tactics and over-baked performances. Sometimes it takes a little guy to show the big guys how to do it right.
Wisely, author (and former actor) Tom Tryon took no chances at having someone else toy with his fragile, exquisitely crafted tale of the supernatural and adapted the screenplay himself from his own novel. And we are all the better for it because "The Other" is arguably one of the most subtle, hauntingly elegant tales to grace the big screen. Might I be so bold as to say Tryon actually improves on his complex, often exasperating book in terms of continuity and clarity. An exercise in restraint, the screenplay is simple yet rich, carefully constructed, and motivated by strong, three-dimensional characters. The film itself is muscular in concept, tone, and visual image.
Identical twin boys living on a lonely, remote country homestead are left to their own imaginary devices for fun-and-games on the farm...with tragic results.
To say anything more would be unconscionable. Just don't let the languid pace of the film fool you. It's intentional. The movie slowly builds, giving in to one of the most shattering climaxes I've ever experienced, with plenty of plot twists to play with your mind. And, like Hitchcock at his best, its done with intelligence, not with buckets of blood.
The performances are stellar. Newcomers Chris and Martin Udvarnoky as the twins came out of nowhere to star in this modest little feature and disappeared just as quickly. Which is eerie in itself since these two youngsters are absolute naturals and could have easily been the Haley Joel Osments of the 70s. Diana Muldaur is quite moving here, possessing the right mixture of anguish and dread as the twins' invalid mother. This role is a far cry from the feisty cut-throat attorney she played years later on "L.A. Law." Other familiar faces include Victor "Highway to Heaven" French as a menacing hired hand and a pre-"Three's Company" John Ritter as the buoyant father-to-be. Best of all, however, is the chance to see legendary acting coach Uta Hagen in a rare, heart-wrenching turn as the boys' altruistic grandmother. Her last scenes will not soon be forgotten.
This moody little thriller deserved a bigger and better release. Don't miss it. And don't forget "the game"!!!
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