‘Old’: A New Concept Wrapped in Unstable Execution

The newest M. Night Shyamalan film crashes and burns with its interesting concept of the horrors of aging at a beach stuck in accelerated time.

CREDIT: Universal Pictures

M. Night is back with another film since his 2019 effort, Glass. This time he is back in theaters with his new thriller, Old. The film stars an ensemble cast of Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Kreips, Rufus Sewel, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, and Emun Elliott. There are quite some familiar faces in here and quite the range of actors within the film. One would think that this means that M. Night is about to lead us into a wild ride of a film especially after watching that trailer. You are not wrong if that is what you were hoping, but this wild ride is nothing to write home about.

The film looks at various families who leave on a tropical vacation, and while there are invited into a secluded beach where time seems to be accelerating throughout the day. This is a really interesting concept but its execution just lacks overall throughout the film. The presentation is interesting but the cinematography is so jarring that it makes it really hard to follow what is going on at times. While some performances are better than others overall it feels like direction is being met. Some performances feel very forced or just fall flat. The problems of this film really feel as if it falls on the script and direction. Of course, the film features another irresponsible portrayal of mental illness by M. Night that seems to be his norm by now that needs to stop already. It is really hard to pull something out of this that is not the thematic conversation being had by an interesting concept thought up by M. Night.

The film excels at bringing up these feelings of anxiety and panic because of situations that our characters are put in that are out of their control. We see many characters react certain ways towards each other or themselves. Our characters are stuck and just cannot move back because they are being forced to move forward without some solutions or comfort about their current situation. Of course, it feels all too reminiscent of our lives since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For that, I commend M. Night on having that conversation throughout the film that gave it its emotional backbone.

Old is playing theaters at the moment and has no VOD release date at the moment.