Based on the graphic novel SANDCASTLE, M. Night Shyamalan’s OLD (2021) fairly telegraphs its plot, but I found myself very engaged with this horror movie, at least until the last act, when Shyamalan attempts to tie off everything neatly in one of his signature twists.
The movie primarily follows a family of four on vacation at a tropical island resort. They seem happy enough, but we learn all is not well when secrets start to be revealed. In multiple ways, this may be a last hurrah for them together as a family. The resort manager tells them about a beautiful beach accessibly only to select guests, and they agree to go along with several other people. Once on the beach, things quickly go bad. The worst of it: Everyone on the beach appears to be rapidly aging.
Thematically, things are more interesting than I thought they’d be. The passage of time, maladies that await in its flow like biological time bombs, what matters when time grows short. Despite you knowing so much going into it, Shyamalan manages to keep you engaged with how it unfolds. Where things started to falter for me as a viewer is the last act. In the book, the ending is far more ambiguous, while the movie veers into silly territory similar to the way it did in Shyamalan’s SIGNS. It’s not a terrible ending–it just feels contrived, too neat, and the “twist” packs a somewhat feeble punch.
Overall, I liked OLD. Despite the Scooby Doo ending, I enjoyed the setting, performances, and overall mystery.