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1,534 Ratings

The Innocents

Directed by Jack Clayton
United Kingdom, United States, 1961
Horror, Thriller


In Victorian England, the uncle of orphaned niece Flora and nephew Miles hires Miss Giddens as governess to raise the children at his estate. Soon after her arrival, Miss Giddens comes to believe that the spirits of the former governess Miss Jessel and valet Peter Quint are possessing the children.

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The Innocents Directed by Jack Clayton
Two highly disconcerting hours later, it turns out that the type of horror movies that age are the ones that revolve around a very contemporary type of shock. But aim for the subconscious, and you get something timeless. All you really need are lights, shadows, the right pacing, a good actor’s face, a subtext that corkscrews its way into your mind, and a director—like the estimable Jack Clayton—who knows how to use them.
October 15, 2017
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Clayton said that he believed in ghosts, and yet the ghosts that come back to haunt Miss Giddens in The Innocents are both convincingly present and also convincingly specters that could be emanating from her own repressed Victorian mind. Clayton uses the wide Cinemascope in The Innocents so that the characters are always kept in focus and in balance in different parts of the frame, but it is what remains outside of the very sharply defined frame that obsesses that entire shivery movie.
November 02, 2016
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To this day [it] still ranks among the greatest of horror films… The Innocents is more tense than frightening — though it is very, very frightening. (It still contains at least one of the great scares of cinema. I won’t tell you what it is, except to say that, like so many things in this film, it involves a window.) But that tension hits us in a very deep place, because it’s borne of something more sinister than just cinematic trickery and plot manipulation.
October 31, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film The Innocents

    Nothing ages worse than horror, they say. And they're not wrong. But the type of horror that ages is the kind that revolves purely around shock or effects. Aim for the subconscious, and you hit something timeless. This may be the most genuinely scary old-dark-house movie I've seen, chiefly because it's an overwhelmingly irrational experience. Light, shadow, and unsettling psychology have aged beautifully.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The Innocents

    Clayton delivers a visually stunning exposé of sexual repression (in bold kissing shots) and madness, perfectly placed in the secluded mansion. Less disconcerting are the ghosts scenes and more cause for alarm flows from the sudden fissures of menace and horror in the gorgeously serene natural surroundings. Kerr is excellent and there is an extraordinary scene indicating her psychotic mind in the hide-and-seek game.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film The Innocents

    A superbly controlled exercise in nuance, suggestion and insinuation. Less is most definitely more as the true horrors bubble underneath the gorgeous surface detail in a dreadful stew of repression and corruption, occasionally slicing through: witness the too-lingering kiss (with added shock in these heightened times). The high contrast photography makes better use of the scope format than many a bloated epic.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film The Innocents

    Incontestablement, un éclatant et précieux joyau du cinéma fantastique, une perle rare, une réussite parfaite dans le genre, traversé par l'impressionnante interprétation des principaux acteurs, rehaussé par le sublime noir et blanc du chef-opérateur Freddie Francis et cautionné par l'excellente nouvelle d'Henry James adaptée plus d'une vingtaine de fois au cinéma ou à la télévision...

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Innocents

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in Clayton's masterful The Innocents, nobody could have played a better Beelzebub than Deborah Kerr. The astonishing camerawork not only brings to life the brooding nature of the tale, but also casts a light on the various shades of innocence (and lack there of).

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film The Innocents

    "The Innocents" captures the gentle, pervasive dread of being truly alone like few films can -- Giddens (played with quiet intensity by Deborah Kerr) faces not only physical isolation at Bly; she is alone with her beliefs, her suspicions, and her sanity (or insanity). No jump scares here. Just the occasional distant, stoic figure on the estate's bleak horizon, and empty smiles and courtesies from two 'innocent' kids.

  • Thomas's rating of the film The Innocents

    A beautifully sublime classic gothic horror with an underlying threat of evil, malice and genuine terror. More in the suggestive dreamlike quality as opposed to explicit shock tactics. It feels almost timeless.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film The Innocents

    Why the F is Jack Clayton so underrated. This film basically accomplished everything THE SHINING tried to do and miserably failed at. Perfect blend of psychological and supernatural horror. Check. Beautiful Cinematography. Check. Breathtaking Vigo-esque dream sequence. Check. This the only horror that terrifies me enough to make me want to look away but also manages to be so dramatically engaging that I don't want to

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