Paul Robinson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shyamalan gets a lot of bad press, a lot of it is deserved especially with such terrible efforts like his undeniably worst film: The Last Airbender. The Village also gets a lot of bad press but I do not agree.
The Village is packed full of tension and suspense, something we have come to expect from the director. It's a very interesting and emotionally powerful story almost verging on fairy tale. It walks a very fine line between reality and fantasy. The cinematography is great here, the twisted forest creaking in the wind combined with eerie sounds almost make it a character in itself driving a real sense of fear as to what might lurk beyond the village boundary.
The real driver of this films success is the brilliant performance from Bryce Dallas Howard. She is extremely believable. Both her smiles and her tears come right through and give The Village a real strong emotional edge.
I think this film was victim of a couple of presumptions. One, those Sixth Sense fans looking for more on every count indirectly ended up looking for every possible reason to knock Shyamalan off the top spot. And Two, the rather misleading trailer which although kept the mystery running unfortunately made it look more like a rather frightening horror film. Luckily I didn't fall for either. This is a film simply requires an open mind and open heart.
The twists, although not as impactful as The Sixth Sense, are well built up. They were unfortunately one of the main reasons for the films panning but I for one was pleasantly surprised and thought they were built up credibly and drip fed to the viewer with skill. For me it wasn't all about the twist in the same way as The Sixth Sense, but about the way the story unfolded and how various events effect the characters, their reasons for their choices and why they are where they are. There is some real heavy thinking material to chew on here should you choose to explore them and as the credits rolled I was left nodding with appreciation at what he had produced. It proves Shyamalan has great creativity and I just hope he can get back on his previous form soon.