Thoughts on The Others – still creepy years later

I saw this movie when it first came out and had to see it multiple times over to catch all the little subtle hints throughout it that revealed to you what was really happening. Now, a decade later, it was so fun to watch it again and relive all the creep factors of the film. We’re talking in class about how–if possible– to translate the use of lighting, camera angles, and other film techniques into the written word. Many of these techniques I don’t think can be translated because books don’t have a musical score for example. While I’m still lost on how to translate those aspects of film into a book, there’s something else that I’m reminded about with fiction.
Last January, at the opening night for residency, Dr. Wendland introduced the topic for the week. We talked about that one line you’d want your reader to have like “trust me, this will be good.” That’s how I feel about The Others. It’s definitely one that is “Trust Me” with a malicious and devious grin when that’s really a lie because you spend the whole time thinking you’re getting the truth and then learn the twist at the end. Or at least that’s what happened to me the first time I saw the movie.
Which brings me to a question about whether we can do this in books. I feel like a twist is expected in film. But can we really get away with lying throughout the whole novel and then “Surprise! Not what you thought!” I kind of think that you can’t do that in a novel. There’s something different between video and books that draws a line on what is allowed. Almost like an unspoken rule that a reader is putting their life in your hands so you’d better not lie to them. But it’s expected in film. Is it because a book takes longer to get through than a film so the audience has invested more to the book than the film so you’d better not jerk them around too much? I haven’t read every book so maybe there are books out there that have a large twist like The Others. If I may, that’s what I’d like in the responses to this post. Do you think you can twist the story as much in a book as you can in a movie? What are examples of books that tell you one tale until the very end and then play the “gotcha” card?

One thought on “Thoughts on The Others – still creepy years later”

  1. Fight Club is a perfect example of how the twist works exactly the same no matter the media. I doubt many people haven’t seen the movie these days, but if you go to the book you see the way the information is control as an almost copy in the movie. An experiment to try is to watch a movie with a twist ending and figure out how to write the scenes in prose to do the same thing the camera is doing.

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