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Old - Movie Review


If your maitre d’s offer of free private access to a secluded beach that you will share with only a few select fellow guests seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it is.

But that doesn’t stop husband and wife team Guy (Gael García Bernal) and Prisca (Vicky Krieps) from happily accepting that offer. Unfortunately, it’s also the first of many stupid choices the characters in M. Night Shyamalan’s new film, Old, will make throughout the course of their anything but typical holiday stay at an upscale resort.

"is mostly ruined by sketchy dialogue, poor decisions by characters, and an eye-rolling twist at the"

Unnatural human behavior is just one of the many missteps and outright fails that plague this twisty-turny tale about the consequences of aging and the absolute certainty of death. That’s right. There’s plenty of blame to go around and most of it centers on Shyamalan himself and the poor decisions with the script he adapts from Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters’ graphic novel called Sandcastles.

The premise is a good one: vacationers who opt for a secluded beach excursion soon find themselves quickly aging, and no matter what they do to try and leave the beach, they can’t. What (or who) is causing the aging? Should suspicions rest on the friendly Maitre D who arranged the excursion? Is the stranger they encounter on the beach with a bloody nose responsible for the dead body washed up on the shore? Is the culprit behind the elaborate prank one of the fellow guests?

What sounds like the perfect setup for an intriguing tale of mystery, horror, and suspense capped off with a signature Shyamalan curveball is mostly ruined by sketchy dialogue, poor decisions by characters, and an eye-rolling twist at the end.

Also starring Rufus Sewell as an egomaniacal physician, Abbey Lee as his trophy wife, psychologist played by Nikki Amuka-Bird, Nurse Ken Leung, Aaron Pierre as a rapper, and a host of child actors who portray the kids at different ages, the acting is quite adequate, especially the stand out performances from Bernal and Krieps. The two anchor the story and give it a much-needed human dignity when the reason for their vacation is revealed.Old

However not a single actor is able to rise above the poorly written dialogue and forced scenarios that are downright silly at times. What would a mother do when she sees her daughter emerge from the other end of the beach pregnant with child? Of course, she would turn her head and bury it in her husband’s arms. What would be your first reaction to the news of someone developing cancer while on the beach? Why, cut it out with a pocketknife, of course. And do we feel better when the man selected to swim around the rock outcroppings to get help says, “I was on my swim team.” What swim team? High school? You’re 50 years old! And let’s not even get into the stilted dialogue that would feel right at home in a high school drama. It’s all so slapdash amateur.

To be fair, there are a handful of successes scattered throughout, including some compelling special effects, one in which a frighteningly twisted body skitters across the sand a la Samara’s crab crawl in The Ring. And rather than deploying budget-busting CGI shots of actors aging or plastering them in pancake makeup, Shyamalan effectively drops in look-alike actors at different stages of the aging process – a clever technique that seamlessly melds with his nifty camera handling.

Additionally, the idea of growing old before one’s own eyes is an absolutely terrifying thought in and of itself. We learn that the characters age at something like one year for every thirty minutes. And what is more heartbreaking than watching your adolescent children become teenagers right before your eyes?

When the closing twist is finally revealed, there’s not really a “wow” moment as much as there is a slump-shouldered reluctance to accept the explanation. Old is simply more of the same from a filmmaker who once showed such promise, but who now can only wow us with a “hmm.”

1/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong violence, disturbing images, suggestive content, partial nudity and brief strong language.
108 mins
: M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan
Gael García Bernal Vicky Krieps Rufus Sewell
: Horror | Mystery
It's Only a Matter of Time.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Dad, why are you looking at me like that?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictrues
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 23, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: This summer, visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan unveils a chilling, mysterious new 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.




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