There's just not enough ghost movies made these days, and certainly not enough good ones. Few filmmakers opt for Gothic manors, fog, and squeaky doors over the flashy "ghost" splatter-fests on display in The House on Haunted Hill and the 13 Ghosts remakes. I'm not sure why more directors don't opt to play in the spirit world, as I think movies like The Changeling, Paranormal Activity, and even The Blair Witch Project show that audiences can be scared with very little. As Jaws famously proved, it's what you don't see that's frightening, especially when you're dealing with the world of the living and the dead.
I think Alejandro Amenabar's The Othersis one of the finest "haunted house" movies ever made. I watched it again last night, and I'm surprised at how little actually happens in this movie. When I first saw it in the theater, it seemed to be a symphony of voices, slamming doors, and moving objects. It's not, all of its chills come from the oppressive darkness, the fog, and a trio of grimly determined servants. Even though it relies heavily on the "twist" factor (and I still feel like Christopher Eccleston's appearance is an annoying red herring), it remains chilling for one of its final lines: "But now what does this all mean? Where are we?"
Below the jump is another scene that still gets me every time. On first glance, you're in the role of Nicholas, and unsure whether it's all an elaborate trick by sneaky Anne. But the hand that touches his cheek belongs to a little boy -- and nothing is scarier in the dark than footsteps from an unseen companion.