There are 50 doors in the house. Grace (Kidman) locks each one behind her, and insists the servants do the same. The curtains must be kept closed at all times. Her two children, Anne and Nicholas, are photo-sensitive, Grace explains: allergic to the sun. They live in an isolated Jersey manse, praying for the day Grace's husband will return from WWII, with only the domestic help for company: Lydia (Cassidy) is a mute, Mr Tuttle (Sykes) busies himself around the grounds, while Mrs Mills (Flanagan) seems unimpressed with her new employer's ways. It's to the redoubtable Mrs Mills that Anne turns when her mother refuses to countenance her stories of a mystery interloper, a lodger who makes himself at home without ever showing his face. Reminiscent of Jack Clayton's Henry James adaptation The Innocents, this intelligent chiller relies on atmosphere and suggestion rather than gross-out gore. It's a surprise just how confident and controlled Amenábar's first Hollywood venture turns out to be. Subtle, too. Absence makes the heart beat faster: the absence of light, the corporeal absence of loved ones. Shrewdly cast, Kidman is pitch perfect. It's a clammy, ingenious film, one of the best studio movies of the year.