Old

Old ★★★★

It is certainly the most active Shyamalan's camera work has ever been, which is perfectly utilized for the conceptual real time linear approach of the film to juxtapose how time moves differently via what the camera tracks and what the characters themselves are approaching. This lends to one of the best sequences of the year involving a pregnancy as it is just absolute insanity to witness. In many ways, this feels like Shyamalan's modern retelling of The Happening where the humor does not override the tense and fear driving moments but makes its presence felt at the right moments. There is honestly a lot to unpack in a film like this and it is actually pretty incredible how a 110 minute movie that moves at a razor sharp pace finds ways to tackle the concepts of adult vanity, childlike innocence and its value, corporate rule, and one can even look into what Shyamalan has to add to the ongoing man vs nature/ climate change motif.

In many ways this film contains the clunky dialogue, absolutely ridiculous premise and actions, and shallow characters presented in The Happening. Yet the clunky dialogue instead adds to the film with how "off" these characters feel (a fight scene between Krieps and Gael in the beginning really helps in making the dialogue feel like a tool in service to the story rather than a hindrance), the ridiculous premise and what ensues feels genuinely shocking and effective thanks to how stunning the camerawork gets around to showcasing it all, and the shallow characters are allowed to have some of the most genuinely beautiful scenes in a film this year which show how Shyamalan hasn't lost the magic he had shown in his earlier films from the nighttime porch scene in The Village to the final car scene in The Sixth Sense to now the final beach scene between Krieps and Gael.

The ending on a first watch feels much like the ending of The Village, I certainly liked it more than I liked the ending of The Village my first time seeing that, but I definitely much prefer the ending of The Village to this one. Perhaps that is a way of saying Shyamalan's endings can certainly grow on me, and the ending tbh is the kind of 1950s type horror ending I'd expect given how the concept of this film is to start with. Some idiots might look too deep into it as some kind of anti vax / pro police message when I think it's really just Shyamalan playing into genre conventions. its a simple and tried and tested ending, but for a 2021 horror film, perhaps this ending is seen as a shocking or "bad" one because the genre has to be elevated realism now.

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