Review: Old

Old (2021)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Writer: M. Knight Shyamalan

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Emberth Daviditz, and Emun Elliott

Plot: A couple of vacationing families get trapped on a mysterious beach that makes you age faster.

Review: M. Knight Shyamalan has pulled off an incredible feat with Old. The movie is about a mysterious beach that quickly ages you. Meanwhile, the movie itself aged me by about 10 years. Or at least it felt like it did. He’s made some god awful movies before, but, honestly, this might be one of his biggest bombs yet in my eyes. I think I’d rather watch The Happening again…

Frankly, I don’t know how balanced this review is going to be. Because I wholeheartedly hated this movie. Almost out of the gate. Like, within the first couple of lines, I was angry. Because those first few lines, where a family talks about how you should enjoy the time you have, exemplified some of my biggest problems with the movie. They’re overwritten as hell, immediately shoving the message of the movie down your throat in ways that real people don’t talk. And, worst of all, they’re extremely poorly acted. Seriously, if you had Siri recite those lines from your phone, they’d have more emotion in them. And neither of those things ever got any better.

I don’t know what was going on during the production of this movie honestly. I think it’s a good enough premise, but every decision that was made in telling this story seemed to be the wrong one. Personally, I put it all on Shyamalan. This reeks of his pretentiousness. As I said, it’s overwritten to hell. There’s no way you’re going to miss any plot points, because the characters over explain every minute detail. Oh, and don’t worry about symbolism either. Shyamalan will spell all of that out to you too, as if he’s writing Sparknotes for someone else’s work. Plus, this is his biggest acting role yet, so you never get the chance to forget that he’s the one telling you this story. He’s the master storyteller. All hail the expert storyteller. It’s not like his directing is any better though. There are often shots that seem to be on nothing in particular. As if it’s deep or artistic to not have the characters all the way in the frame. Plus the insane amount of closeups on his actors’ faces just not reacting at all. It’s like he saw Midsommar and said “I can do a bad version of that.” Speaking of his actors, not a single one of them is good here. They’re all incredibly flat the entire time. And. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Because I’ve seen these actors in other movies before and they’re wonderful. But here it’s like they’re robots who know how to speak but haven’t gotten the whole emotion thing down yet. It had to have been a creative choice by Shyamalan. There’s no other way I can make sense of it.

But, what truly baffles me is that this movie is divisive. There are people who actually like it. Heck, it’s at a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, I’m not one to tell someone their opinion on a movie is definitively wrong, but I don’t understand at all. There is almost nothing I liked about this movie, outside of it’s premise. (And even that is not fully executed on and tiptoes a bit on the “creepy but not in a good way” side in my opinion.) I hated it from the word go. The only time I started to enjoy myself was when I looked at it as a “so bad it’s good” Happening type of movie, but that didn’t last long. I’m definitely intrigued though. I want to talk to people about this movie. I want to understand why anyone would give this a good review. Is there something I’m missing? Is there something they’re missing? Am I being to harsh? I legitimately have no idea. And I want to hear about it. If you’ve seen the movie and liked it, let me know why. I’m actually interested in having a communication here. This movie just has me baffled.

Until then though, Old is not going to be a recommendation from me. I thought it failed on just about every level a movie can. It’s poorly written, acted, directed, the whole nine yards. And, if you’re looking for a scare, you probably won’t find it here. And, though I obviously won’t get into here, the twist is pretty weak. Maybe the weakest in Shyamalan’s catalogue. So, yeah, I hated this movie and it’s making me feel like a bitter old man.

TL;DR: In my opinion, M. Knight Shyamalan completely failed at making Old’s interesting concept into anything remotely watchable.

Score: 1/10 (Unbearable)

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