M. Night Shyamalan seemed to have clawed his way back to the top of the pile with the popular (although I can’t fathom it myself) ‘The Visit’ and the excellent ‘Split’, before slapping us in the face once more with the underwhelming ‘Glass’ – side note, I literally lost a friendship because I said I found that film disappointing – so I was hoping ‘Old’ would cement his reputation for being back on track, alas, it ended up being something of a mixed bag.
Based on a French graphic novel (so we can’t blame M. for the story) titled ‘Sandcastle’, this adaptation sees a group of tourists’ head to an idyllic beach for the day, only to discover that time moves differently there when they all begin to age rapidly.
With a solid cast at its core and one central location, I assumed that an experienced filmmaker would be able to focus on telling a good story, sadly Shyamalan seems to have been more focused on experimenting with filmmaking techniques and developing his visual style.
Old is straight to the point in terms of the story it is telling, but it manages to cut away from a number of events you wish it would linger on, making it a frustrating film to watch. Its characters do a number of foolish things, the director’s brand of humour is terrible and it features the worst CGI I have seen in a theatrically released film definitely this side of Covid, but possibly ever! It also features some problematic content and the ending is a bit of a damp squib too.
When he’s on top form, Shyamalan is one of my favourite directors, but I cannot think of a single other genre filmmaker whose output rate of turds matches his hits. Old left me feeling disappointed. It was a meh movie. When will I learn you may ask? I always like to believe that he’ll recapture some of the magic which made me fall in love with his films one day and I know firsthand that filmmaking is difficult, so I do honestly always look for the good in everything I watch. Sadly, this was a disappointing vacation from reality, but like a bad holiday there’s always next time to look forward to.