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The Village was almost great

Synopsis:

The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.

 

In the late 90s and early 2000s M. Night Shyamalan pushed out some great movies. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and almost made another great movie when he made The Village.

Upon my re-watching of this movie, I realized how much of an all-star cast this movie had. It had the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, Judy Greer, Michael Pitt, and many others you’d most likely recognize. Heck, it even had Jesse Eisenberg!

Often times people point to this movie as the movie that began the downfall of Shyamalan. But I do not see this movie as a whole as the cause for his downfall, I see this movie’s final act and a half as being the reason.

The twists in his movies may have kept people coming back, but that was only because they were solid and added to the plots. The twist in this movie took SO MUCH away from the mystery and awe of this story. A true suspenseful movie awaits you in the first 2.5 acts, but the final 1.5 acts are horrendously handled.

Spoilers (if you’re 11 years late to the party)

The twist of the monsters not being real and the town elders dressing up as the monsters would be cool if the first half of the movie wasn’t so terrifying and awesome.

Why couldn’t the monsters be real and the like the town elders were sacrificing people to them be the twist!? The monsters terrified me as a child, and terrified me when I re-watched this. The twist of them being in modern day may have also been better had Shyamalan told it through something other than outright explanation from William Hurt and SHYAMALAN HIMSELF!

I enjoyed so many elements of this movie, including the use (sometimes) of Bryce Dallas Howard being blind. I liked Joaquin Phoenix’s quietness. Although, I feel like Shyamalan used Adrien Brody’s character’s mental handicap as a way to bring in the plot twist. It was not necessarily a needed aspect for that character arc, and it felt more like a plot crutch to help the story make sense with little explanation or sensible writing.

With a more straightforward ending without a twist just to have a twist, this movie could have really propelled Shyamalan to being one of the best directors of the late 90s and early 2000s.

If you want a cool movie with solid actors (though not given too much to work with) then this first part of the movie is for you. If you want a twist for the sake of having a twist then this is for you as well.

 

Overall: It was great for the first 2.5 acts, but awful the last 1.5 acts.

I’ll give it a 4.5/10

(give me the no twist version, where the monsters are totally real then I would probably give it a 8 out of 10)

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