Time itself is a cold-blooded killer in M Night Shyamalan’s newest thriller Old. Both inventive and pensive, this film shows that even a seasoned Director can make space for successful growth.
A sunny beach day brilliantly serves as the unusual setting for this macabre outing into the unknown. Aesthetically, this movie succeeds in creating effective daylight terrors similar to Ari Aster’s Midsommar. As these characters navigate a scenario straight out of a Twilight Zone episode, enthralling world-building and suspense take center stage.
Aging and time seem to provide unadulterated nightmare fuel for Shyamalan, who explored similar themes in 2015’s The Visit. Old expands on themes present in its source material (the graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederick Peeters) such as vanity, sexual innocence, capitalism, corporate greed, racism, and infidelity. This mesmerizing chaos is ultimately undercut by a banal ending more reminiscent of feel-good popcorn fodder rather than a mature thriller. However, in a time when health coverage disparities are making headlines, it seems especially pertinent to make Big Pharma the true underlying villain.
Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal and The Omen’s Nikki Amuka-Bird provide the film’s most grounded characters with believable common sense. Lovecraft Country fans will surely recognize the bewitching Abbey Lee in this role that will inspire many 2021 Halloween costumes. Hereditary’s Alex Wolff continues amassing Horror credits with this playful turn as 15 year-old Trent.
For what feels like the billionth time this year, we see yet another “good cop” character seemingly absolved just by being played by a Black actor. We appreciate the diversity, but for the love of all things scary - PLEASE STOP ROMANTICIZING POLICE. More creative resolutions are deeply needed in the genre.
Old topped domestic box office waves collecting over 16 million dollars in its opening weekend alone for the number one spot. What did you think of Shyamalan’s latest?