M. Night Shyamalan takes us on a trip to an exotic location in his new horror movie Old, out today in theaters.
The movie begins with two families on vacation at an all-inclusive resort, but both families are hiding something from their families. The two families set off for a remote private beach that seems like a dream come true, but it’s actually a nightmare as the families, along with several other people, begin to notice changes in the children and then themselves, they are rapidly aging.
The first thing I have to mention is the casting. The children are played by multiple actors as they age and the casting was dead on. That’s a hard task to pull off, but Old nailed it. The cast of adults was another great choice. They really emote the terror and confusion that their characters are experiencing.
The cast includes Golden Globe winner Gael García Bernal (Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Rufus Sewell (Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle), Ken Leung (Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Jupiter Ascending), Abbey Lee (HBO’s Lovecraft Country), Aaron Pierre (Syfy’s Krypton), Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Embeth Davidtz (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Eliza Scanlen (Little Women), Emun Elliott (Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens), Kathleen Chalfant (Showtime’s The Affair) and Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit).
The story keeps you hooked as you try to figure out what’s causing the aging, But there is a second layer of the story that is also very present, the dramas in the marriages of the two couples. They try hard to hide health problems from their families but it doesn’t take long for them to be exposed once they are on the beach.
While there are multiple horror aspects of the film, physical, emotional, etc…, there is one nightmare-inducing scene that will really freak you the hell out. You’ll know it when you see it. It made this horror veteran turn her head and look away, that’s saying something. It’s one of the most impressive scenes I’ve seen in a movie in a while. Speaking of special effects, bravo to the special effects team. I was so impressed by the way that the aging was handled. To top it off, the effects are mostly realistic and often subtle. The film looks good as well, between the clever shots and the stunning but harsh landscape you get a claustrophobic feeling like the group is now in a world all their own.
I had only one issue with the Old, but it wasn’t actually with the film, it’s with the marketing campaign. The trailer shows way too much. Thankfully, it doesn’t ruin the ending, that’s something that you will NEVER see coming. I have a feeling that Old’s ending will go down as one of Shyamalan’s bests.
So, if you are wondering if Old is a movie you should see, my answer is a big yes. It’s a breath of fresh air that the genre desperately needs. It’s clever, gripping, and unnerving. See it for yourself, it’s in theaters today (July 23).