Reviewed by Adam Donato
Old is an adaptation of a graphic novel called Sandcastle. Once again, M. Night Shyamalan tackles the suspense thriller genre in a way that nobody else can. Despite the mixed critical reception of Glass, it was an overwhelming success at the box office. Now with a prime release date in the heat of the summer, Old premieres against the lowly Snake Eyes spin-off and leftovers from Black Widow and Space Jam. Can M. Night reestablish himself as an event filmmaker?
This movie tells the story of a family who goes on vacation to this beautiful beach resort and finds themselves trapped among others on a secluded beach that seems to have strange effects on their bodies. Suspicions arise when a dead body is discovered and the children start to age rapidly. Total chaos ensues as the gang tries to escape. An interesting concept that is ripe with potential. Mix that with some of M. Night’s mastery of suspense juxtaposed with his odd sense of humor, and it makes an edge-of-your-seat blockbuster.
A good amount of the suspense comes from body horror as the group finds themselves at odds with their own changing bodies. It’s not gory, but it’s not easy to watch either. What’s scarier is the consequences that come with aging rapidly and the paranoia of the members themselves. The rapid aging adds a level of urgency that keeps the movie going at a fast clip. There’s a good amount of attention to detail as characters grow older and face difficulties that come with that.
Not only is the film scary, but it also has a lot to say. The mystery of the movie is wrapped up in a satisfying manner that only strengthens the themes. These concepts are explored through external conflicts brought forth by each of the individual parties in the groups. Everything is deliberately placed and adds to the overall point of the movie.
One of the most important aspects that make this movie work is the performances. Having the aged children still speak like children strengthens the weight of their situation. One line that Shyamalan loves to toe in his movies is having characters that feel natural. He has a way of making characters talk that makes them seem so weird and jokes that border cringe. In a movie based on having characters react to strange things happening, this weirdness only adds to the uneasiness of the events in the story.
Certainly, this is a film that is sure to stick with audiences. It's definitely something that takes time to marinate so one can dissect everything it’s trying to say. This is the type of movie that is prime for a rewatch, which won’t be hard because of its entertainment value. There’s laughs, suspense, and genuine heart here that makes Old not only one of the best movies of the summer, but also the year.
Old hits theaters on July 23.