Old (2021) Film Review

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Writers: M. Night Shyamalan, Based on the Graphic Novel By: Pierre-Oscar Lévy, Frederick Peeters

Stars: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell

RATING: 3.5 Stars

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A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day. – From IMDB

Shyamalan has put out some great film in his time…and a few that were…not so great, to put it kindly. But one thing for me that always holds true is, that seeing as the majority of his films have that trademark third act twist, it is that twist that will define whether I leave the film with a positive impression, or shaking my head in disappointment. And sadly this time, it was the former. That doesn’t meant that I am giving this film a bad review though. Because the first seventy five percent of it was actually pretty good, but it misses out on the big points because I feel let down by the ending.

The bulk of the film is watching as the four groups of people on the beach rapidly succumb to the effects of rapid aging. It’s incredible how impressive the casting of the kids is. Each life stage we see them at, the actors chosen look enough alike, that it is a believable substitution. Most of the acting performances in this are actually pretty strong, even if I don’t think the writing is always that great. The young actors in the beginning in particular are especially endearing and charming, a rarity among a lot of child actors.

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The special and practical effects implemented to show the rapid aging and is also amazing. There is a pregnancy scene, partly shown in the trailer so no spoilers, that is particularly hard to watch. As is watching all the various characters succumbing to their various age related ailments. Going blind or deaf, forgetting who people are or what is going on. These are all things we fear about getting older and we are confronted with it head on here. also heads up, there are some pretty horrific scenes later on in the film as well. The weakening bones of a woman with a calcium deficiency was especially gruesome. The trailer doesn’t really portray it but the film does get pretty dark.

What does get ‘Old’ (see what I did there?) is the frequent massages about not wasting time and living in the now. We get the concept, you don’t have to hit us over the head with it. Also there is no real plot, they are just trying to escape the beach and fail at every turn. Slowly we see them all die in one form or another, and we never really learn anything about any of the characters other than our main family.

It had potential to be great, but the twist was too mundane and I kinda figured early on it would be something along those lines. A shame to be sure, but by no means a bad film. Check it out if you like your horror to have a little more to it than rampaging serial killers with mummy issues.

‘Old’ is out in UK cinemas now!

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