Wait till it’s available on streaming then get your friends together with a few brewskis and enjoy what can only be described as a late-night B-movie that’s so bad it’s almost good.
This review of Old is spoiler-free.
Based on the Swiss graphic novel Sandcastle, Old is the latest offering from M Night Shyamalan, who wrote and directed this film.
On a paradise island holiday resort, a group of strangers is thrown together on a secluded beach, but they soon realize that the resort is not what it seems, with the beach causing the group to age rapidly, and as tensions rise, things become violent and nightmarish, and there is no way for the group to escape.
I guess that the premise of this story seems ok, and although I haven’t read it, I would bet you 5 bucks that the graphic novel is a much more satisfying experience, but this film is nothing short of a complete omnishambles.
I’m afraid that apart from the initial idea, there is literally nothing in this catastrophe that would honestly let me recommend this film to any of you.
The ensemble cast that includes Rufus Sewel, Ken Leung, and Gael Garcia Bernal, struggle horribly to engage us with their stories, but there is really not a single performance here that either stands out or shines in any way.
Most of that comes from a truly horrific script, and the poor cast spends most of their time just shouting at each other or delivering mind-numbing lines of exposition that give everything the feel of an am-dram production at your local community center.
As the younger kids start to rapidly age, 2 years an hour, the rest of the cast start to acknowledge that something is wrong, and when the body of a previous visitor is found dead in the sea, things start to get nasty. The group then discovers Mid Size Sedan, a rapper, who is the lone survivor of the previous group, but he seems reluctant to discuss what has happened before they arrived.
Slowly the group starts to unravel, and attempts to escape are in vain, as the only exit causes the group to pass out and end up back on the beach.
How will the group escape? Who will live and who will die? What is causing the advanced aging of the trapped guests? These are all questions that I didn’t even care about as I watched this group of useless paper-thin stereotypes perform meaningless set pieces that failed to engage or convince.
As much as I want to, I will not reveal the usual Shyamalan twist ending, an ending so convoluted that it starts to eat itself the more you think about it. Instead, I will advise you that nothing that happens in Old makes any sense, even in the context of the sci-fi premise of the story.
There are more plot holes here than the final season of Doctor Who, and if I had a notion to re-watch this, I would happily list them for you. However, the thought of having to sit through this smoldering dumpster fire again leaves me cold, and there will no doubt be a YouTube video or two that will take great delight in pointing every stupid decision the director of this film makes.
Speaking of direction, I have no idea what Shyamalan was trying to achieve here, with strange choices in the framing of scenes, awkward POV shots, and rambling unimpressive tracking shots that do nothing to enhance the flow of the film.
The sound all through this effort also seemed to be wandering around aimlessly, to the extent that there are points where you think there is a problem with the sound system in the theatre.
Basically, I can find nothing in Old that works, and the one truly disturbing scene towards the end of the third act, which should have been a truly horrifying moment, only managed to have the audience I watched it with laugh out loud.
When your big horror moment is funny, you have missed the mark completely.
I had high hopes for this, and I really thought Shyamalan might have been on track to bring us a scary and thought-provoking new horror conceit, but this film is an embarrassing mess. Wait till it’s available on streaming then get your friends together with a few brewskis and enjoy what can only be described as a late-night B movie that’s so bad it’s almost good.