‘Old’ Is More Miss Than Hit

Universal Pictures

It’s easy to say that we all can enjoy a good vacation right now. It would provide us with some much-needed time to unwind and try not to think about whatever is happening in our lives. Sounds nice, right? Well, in the case of Old, some vacationers got far much more than they bargained for.

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller follows a family in need of a vacation. When the manager (Gustaf Hammarsten) of a luxury resort offers Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal), Priska (Vicky Krieps) and their two children, Maddox (Alexa Swinton, later Tomasin Mackenzie and Embeth Davidtz) and Trent (Nolan River, later Luca Faustino Rodriguez, Alex Wolff and Emun Elliott), an offer to escape for a secluded beach (which he conveniently only offers to his best guests), the family cannot refuse.

Thinking they would be alone on this adventure as was promised by the manager, the quartet are surprised when another family enters the van just before its scheduled departure. This other family consists of a doctor named Charles (Rufus Sewell), his wife Chrystal (Abbey Lee), their daughter Kara (Mikaya Fisher, later Eliza Scanlen), and Charles’ mother, Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant). With the group doubling in the span of a few seconds, both families do their best to get along as they’re dropped off to the remote part of the island to see the beauty of this secluded beach. However, there is much more to the beach than meets the eye.  There the families meet a few other sets of families/couples. While they mostly are the picture of extreme relaxation, each of them is going through a plethora of problems that the others are not completely aware of.

Universal Pictures

Old is definitely the kind of movie that viewers will either love or hate, with a few who are somewhere in between–I happen to fall on this side of the spectrum as it pertains to Shyamalan’s new flick. While it has some of the elements of Shyamalan’s previous films that made them enjoyable, it also has a great deal of the parts that have made some of his past works unenjoyable. Old tows a very fine line between the two and while at times, it was difficult to watch, I also found myself unable to look away. This is to say that Old does a lot of things during its nearly two-hour runtime, and unfortunately, not all of them were good. 

What is perhaps the most disappointing for me, was the fact that the cast wasn’t used to the best of their ability. On paper, the cast is full of exceptional actors, however, there is only so much even a great actor can do with the script that they’ve been given. Bless them, as they do try, particularly, Sewell and Aaron Pierre as a rapper named Mid Size Sedan. That being said, not even these performances can save the film from itself. 

In true Shyamalan fashion, Old does come with its own plot twists and a message in the end that will make you think. However, due to some story elements not exactly melding together in the way that they should, it makes everything seem off-kilter. And of course, the film’s uneven pacing does not help matters.

Despite all of Old’s flaws, it’s definitely not the worst of Shyamalan’s films and some moments are likely to genuinely capture the viewer’s undivided attention. Regardless, try as it might, Old doesn’t live up to its trailer, nor does it stand tall against some of Shyamalan’s other films including The Sixth Sense, Signs, and Split (perhaps film titles with ‘S’ words is what Shyamalan should stick to. At least, for the most part, these are working for him).

Old is now playing in theatres.

by Britany Murphy

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