Old (2021) movie review
Old is the latest thriller from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and is based on the graphic novel by Pierre-Oscar Lévy and Frederick Peeters. The film follows a family on vacation as they are taken to a remote beach with several other strangers, only to discover that something on the beach is causing them all to rapidly age. Now they must find a way off the beach before time runs out… The film opens this weekend, however only holds middling reviews from critics and audiences, with a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 55% Metascore. That said, those ratings are higher than Snake Eyes, Joe Bell, and Comeback Trail…
Old is… well it’s definitely a textbook Shyamalan film. Personally, I think he’s made more bad movies than good. While I like his better films, I would call The Happening (2008) one of the all-time greats of ‘So bad, it’s good.’ Plus there’s that “Avatar” movie… Anyway yeah, Old is probably what you would expect: A solid start followed by a genuinely intriguing concept executed well that shoots itself in the foot at the last possible second. So if you actually like the resolutions in Signs (2002), The Village (2004), or even The Visit (2015), go check out Old. That said, if the destiny is more (or at least AS) important than the journey, Old might disappoint you.
Like I said before, the concept is genuinely interesting. Despite the fact that Old isn’t labeled as a true horror film, the structure feels very much like one. You have a very dramatic time constraint where the clock starts ticking before the characters even realize what’s going on. Life and death is of course on the line, and the tight setting and rising tension make for one gripping watch for the first two thirds of the film. That said, conceptually speaking, the last act does not hold up the rest of the film. The resolution itself was fairly weak, and the reasoning behind it didn’t make sense. M. Night usually makes films that feel like they were written after he came up with the ending, but Old felt like he simply didn’t know how to end it… Honestly, if there was a film that needed a vague, answer free ending, it was this one.
That said, a highlight for me was the overall talent the cast brought to the story. I want to talk about some specific actors, but honestly, everyone in this cast did a really great job consistently selling the audience on the concept that I can’t even imagine reacting to. I don’t really know how two parents would react to having their kids grow to an unrecognizable age so quickly, but boy to Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps really sell those reactions!
Also between the consistently tense score from Trevor Gureckis and the absolutely Oscar worthy make-up from (looks up crew on IMDb) a very large department, the quality really helps the film’s minor flaws disappear. Seriously, the tiny details of having every actor look slightly older in almost every scene must have been a continuity nightmare, and I’m giving this film an entire point higher for the work done here. It is top notch execution of this genuinely fascinating idea.
That said, when the finale hits, it does give that Maze Runner (2014) empty feeling, like you spent ninety-minutes enjoying the movie only to end on the worst the film had to offer. In the end though, I didn’t hate Old. It’s got some little problems throughout, and the last act really doesn’t stick, but wow does this film work hard to bring to life such an intriguing story. I think overall I did enjoy Old; I just wish it had been a different director to make it… So again, if you can enjoy a tense and fairly well compiled film despite a lousy third act, you’ll probably have a good time. Otherwise, it’s a Redbox movie… 6/10.
So Old? Did you see it yet? What did you think? And tell us what we should review next, because, again, we have a ton to get through and not a whole lot of time to do it. Escape Room 2? Snake Eyes? Fear Street? help us pick what to talk about so we can deliver some quality reading that you guys want to read! Anyway thanks for reading our review of Old! Hope you liked it and that it helps sell you on the film. Leave a like if you could, or maybe even a comment…? Anyway it really helps us get the handle on what you all like and don’t like to read!
-review by Ryan Prince