“A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they’re relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day.” – IMDB
Le Sigh. I had such hope that 17 years after The Village, M. Night Shyamalan may have reigned in his “M. Night Shyamalan-ess” a bit. Unfortunately, even with a solid story idea and a stellar cast, this was the director’s worst turn yet. Let me clarify…
Sixth Sense: Classic. Solid.
Signs: Not for everyone, but my personal favorite of his movies and a movie that I actually love…mock me as you will. It had many of his directorial signatures, but didn’t beat you over the head with them.
The Village: The beginning of the end. The movie’s twist caused most moviegoers to start rolling their eyes when the director’s name was mentioned in conversation.
His movies are based on fantastic, unique takes on thrillers. Ghosts. Aliens. Cults! GREAT PREMISES FOR MOVIES! And the movies hold your attention, they incorporate symbolism, they have fantastic actors! That is why it is so disappointing when they go wrong.
While he has directed other movies, the three mentioned above are his most well-known, and his most notorious. When I watched The Village, I didn’t hate the entire viewing experience, but I was disappointed that Shyamalan revealed his entire hand to the audience. He seemed to have stalled on twists and turns, and his bag of tricks appeared to be at an end.
In Old, we have yet another fantastic premise: tourists are taken to a secret beach where they start suddenly aging incredibly rapidly. Within minutes, six and eleven year old children appear to be twice their age. Wounds heal into scar tissue immediately. The film is also comprised of an amazing ensemble cast that includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Thomasin McKenzie, and Rufus Sewell, among others.
But during the gap between The Village and Old, instead of going back to the drawing board, Shyamalan seems to have not only decided that his class twists are the hill he will die on, but he also seems to have lost respect for his audience’s intellect. It felt like I was being spoon-fed the plot as it went along. A character could be in the middle of dying and instead of reacting normally, the other characters would dive into clunky, bullshit dialogue aimed at treating the audience as if we were watching the movie with our eyes and ears covered.
I’m giving this movie 5 out of 10 Claire Bears because there was an interesting story there, it just wasn’t executed well. Also because the actors did their best with a bullshit script. It was also set in a beautiful location. And, to be honest with you, I had fun just brutally laughing at it.
Although maybe M. Night got the last laugh, because I was two hours older and my life was none the richer by the time I left that theater.
Until next time M. Night. Nice try.
Rating: 5 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, The Village
Streaming: In theaters only, unavailable to steam
With: Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff, Gael Garcia Bernal, Abbey Lee Kershaw
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan