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
What's going on?
I'm waiting for him to disappear.
Don't be a dumbell, nobody can do that!
I know! I wanna find out how he does it. Holland? How?
I'll play the game on him!
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I remember very clearly that parts of the Thomas Tryon novel just about had me wetting myself, it was that scary, and I wondered if the movie version would do it justice. In many ways, it nearly surpasses the book...which is something that rarely ever happens. Some people don't care for the performances by Chris and Martin Udvarnoky as the twins, Niles and Holland, but the fact that they weren't typical "Hollywoodized" child stars enabled them to give more naturalistic performances, thereby making them more believable...and creepy.
And what can you say about one of theater's Grande Dames, Uta Hagen? I think this was the only film I've ever seen her in, and she's spectacular. Well before "bad kids" became a genre cliché, this one beats all the other like-minded thrillers by a mile, even THE OMEN. (Well, maybe not THE BAD SEED, though.)
And as the cherry-on-top, Jerry Goldsmith turned in one of his best scores on this one. And DP Robert Surtees' work is so beautiful in contrast to the sheer horror it has us bear witness to...
Director Mulligan deserved all the praise he got for THE OTHER, and more acclaim than he did get because of the fact that it was considered a "low-class horror movie." When you watch it, though, you may not think so by the chilling ending. See if this doesn't stay with you for weeks afterward, the way it did for me...
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