‘Old’ movie review
director: M. Night Shyamalan
release date: July 23, 2021
star rating: three out of five
review by Kyle Lavin
(Editor’s note: Spoilers ahead.)
“There’s something wrong with this beach!” This quote from one of the main characters in M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film, Old, becomes more and more true. Right off the bat, things seem too good to be true as a family of four arrive at a luxury resort greeted by the resort owner or manager. The mother, Prisca, even remarks that it’s hard to believe she found this resort online. I knew what I was getting myself into, but in every detail, I was trying to figure out the expected twist to come, which is present in any M. Night film.
In true M. Night fashion, everything has a veil of mystery, which is always good fun when viewing his films. Old doesn’t shy away from making the audience feel confused or misled, but I will say that the reveal of the twist seemed to begin to be unveiled too early in the film. An intentional invitation to a secluded beach for your family, but somehow more families were invited, too, seems initially suspicious and, at the very least, disappointing for the family. Pointing out that cameras were set up in the mountains looking down at them screamed to me that the resort was behind this somehow. It was interesting how everyone on the beach was targeted because of different illnesses or health issues, and the resort is really a front for a pharmaceutical company to test medicines on the people on the beach. I think that the beach making them older at some fast rate was an interesting plot point that never seemed to be resolved. I found myself feeling lost and unsatisfied at the end because that wasn’t very clear to the audience. Instead, the director focused on the fact that the characters were all part of a medical experiment. I wanted to understand why they were getting old fast and why they experienced physical complications when they attempted to leave.
What I loved about the story was that it focused on one of the most complex, vulnerable, and beautiful things in life: family. The family had to work through many marital issues which some audiences may find uncomfortable, yet relatable. Ultimately, in the extreme circumstances of this film, what matters in life is being together and to not take it for granted.
Old, with its unique twist on a story themed on the importance of family, impressed me, but I was not blown away. M. Night is one with a creative mind to develop stories for the screen that make us question everything and feel uncomfortable and thrilled. However, this one falls short of the unpredictability that is normally prevalent in his films.