The innocents is a 1961 psychological horror film film directed and produced by Jack Clayton, and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, and Megs Jenkins.
Victorian England. A young governess decides to take up the job of raising two orphaned children – Flora and Miles. It is her first job but she believes that she is up for it. The young bachelor (their uncle) is not worried about her lack of experience. He is hardly even interested in the children and just wants someone to take care of them so that he can live out his life. He even keeps them in his country estate away from him. She arrives at the estate and quickly gets introduced to Flora whom she immediately takes a liking to. She also meets the old and charming housekeeper Mrs. Grose. Miles’s arrival comes a bit later but it is not as warm as Flora’s. He gets expelled from boarding school but pretends that nothing happened. Soon enough though she will come to the realization that she would have much bigger problems to deal with. She begins to see figures of a mysterious man and woman and believes that the spirits of the former governess and valet are trying to possess the children. Are they ghosts of people that have died there in the past? Or is she slowly going insane?
This was a very unsettling, atmospheric and intense film. I really did not expect that going into it. I loved watching the main character as she tried to find out what was happening and slowly started to lose her sanity. The movie keeps you in the dark the entire time as to what really is happening. It is suspense at it’s finest. Despite the slight issues that I had with the camerawork the cinematography was still beautiful. I always enjoy older movies shot in huge mansions. Not that you could focus much on the scenery anyways. The children stole every scene that they were in. They definitely take the first place trophy for creepiest kids in a horror film for me. They were absolutely creepy. They almost seem like adults in children’s bodies at times seeming more like villains at at time than innocent young children. The ominous singing especially made things that much creepier. But not to undermine Deborah Kerr. She did an outstanding job as the lead role. Her portrayal of a slow descent into insanity as her character tries to do everything in her power to protect the children is commendable. The acting could be seen as melodramatic at times but it fits. Even though it is an old film and can be dated it can still be very disturbing even by today’s standards. It reminded me a bit of “The shining”. I truly think that it is one of those timeless movies that will keep audiences petrified for years to come. It has definitely become one of my favorite horror films ever.
Final verdict: 9/10