brendanowicz’s review published on Letterboxd:
The conceit is inherently cinematic: a movie about a scary beach that causes people to age one year every half hour becomes a sustained exercise in existential terror as life events pile up at an overwhelming pace. This is the basic promise of genre cinema, wherein excitements that would last anyone a lifetime are compressed into a couple of hours. The practical challenge is to make a linear experience out of this heap of catastrophes and to wring enough interesting visuals out of a single, relatively blank location. Shyamalan is up to the task. Whatever can be said about his scripts he has never been so naked as a director, with nothing to guide the movie except his virtuosity and sense of the image. He is constantly finding unexpected ways to frame and reframe shots, creating widescreen tableaus with his ensemble cast that are disrupted by the intrusion of objects and a perpetual prickly awareness of the offscreen space. It isn't so much that Shyamalan is a bad screenwriter but rather that screenwriting is in a real sense his enemy, the thing that he has to overpower with his filmmaking. Old eventually surrenders that battle, in a disappointing epilogue where plot wrests control away from the images again. But up until those last few minutes it's a work that shows all of his power as an artist, and far from betraying the expectations the industry once had that he would become the new Spielberg he's accomplished something that even some great directors fall short of: a movie that creates its own reality.