Sunday, January 22, 2017

Movie Review: The Village

M. Night Shyamalan returned with a period piece about a village in the late 19th Century plagued by strange creatures in the woods and isolated from other towns. Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) desires to venture into the town for new cures though the elders forbid it. The community thrives on their innocents and simple nature of living, though every few nights, the creatures arrive to threaten their existence and keep them happy to be safe within their walls. 

The Village elders consist of Edward Walker (William Hurt) the leader, Lucius's mother Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver), a mourning widower August Nicholson (Brendan Gleeson). The issue of not having proper medicine affects all the members of the community and is a major argument for sending someone to the towns for assistance. One victim of the primitive medicine is Edward's daughter Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) who was afflicted with blindness at a young age.

Ivy strikes up a relationship with Lucius after he refuses the affections of her sister Kitty (Judy Greer). They also befriend a man with learning disabilities Noah Percy (Adrien Brody) and seems unafraid of crossing the town perimeter or of the visiting monsters. The monsters encroach on the village more and more leaving behind skinned carcasses of animals and red marks on doors as threats. 

When Noah stabs Lucius out of jealousy and misunderstanding, the need for a cure for the infected wound becomes dire. The elders know that if they send someone to the town, they could save Lucius's life but they would also risk exposure to the outside world. The movie relies on to heavy plot twists that reduce the payoff and the horror of the movie. They are revealed in astonishing ways and feel forced for a surprise rather than as a natural development of the plot.

I remember being very excited for The Village when I first saw the preview and expecting a shocking, thrilling, and excellent horror film, but instead got a strange meditation on crime and isolation. The movie would've have paid off more for me if there had been more of a horror to the film. There are certainly some suspenseful scenes and Shyamalan could still pull that off but I believe this was the beginning of his decline away from quality thrillers. 

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