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The Other

Set in the depression era and playing like some twisted blend of "The Waltons" and "The Bad Seed", 1972's THE OTHER is a quiet, spooky little drama with overtones of horror.

Twins Niles and Holland Perry (well played by real life twins Chris and Martin Udvarnoky) keep themselves busy playing in the woods surrounding their farm. Niles is a kind child, a rule follower and a people-pleaser. Holland is his opposite, pushing boundaries, causing trouble and eventually showing a much darker side.

As more and more people begin to die in accidents around the boys family, their grandmother Ada (Uta Hagen) tries to bond with Niles.

She teaches him "the game" which allows him to do a Spock-style mind meld with any person or animal.

Secrets emerge, plots twist and all of it happens at a glacier like pace until the film's final ten minutes which take a final dark twist (or two).

The posters begged audiences not to reveal the big secret of the film, but I found that secret so telegraphed and obvious from the opening scenes that it played more like the worst of M. Night Shyamalan's twists (The Village...blech) than his best (The Sixth Sense) with which it shares DNA.

The boys are good actors, Hagen brings strength in her role, Diana Muldaur is good as the boys Mom and a very young John Ritter makes an appearance.

Director Robert Mulligan (To Kill A Mockingbird, Summer of '42) plays it all very straight and that doesn't help the pace, which is agonizingly slow.

Even Jerry Goldsmith's music score seems like one of his lesser efforts, probably because the director cut much of it before the film's release.

Less horror film than drama, THE OTHER doesn't hold nearly the secrets it hopes, meandering its way to a C.

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