The Village (2004)


M. Night Shyamalan


Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver


There's creepy things in the woods. Really there are. And we all talk like silly period drama characters. Terrifying.


Sadly, Shyamalan's star seems to be fading. Following the fantastic 6th Sense, he's managed a comic-geek movie, a derivative (please don't show the monster) twilight zone suspense, and then this. Oh, he also wrote the screenplay for Stuart Little.

His nifty name, and the sheer brilliance of the 6th Sense, led most people who enjoy films to eagerly anticipate Shyamalan's next offering. So he gave us a comic book in-joke. Disappointed, we awaited his next terrifying-yet-interesting movie, and it was about squished cornfields and Dr. Who monsters. So it should have been with little anticipation that I watched this, but I still hoped.

It's looking more likely these days that the 6th Sense was a fluke. This film has it's interesting aspects, and certain plot elements that you want him to develop, but he has yet to come up with a baddie as scary as post-accident-victim-ghosts, and he has evidently lost the idea that suspense is a subtle thing.

The tension is a given from the start in this movie, which doesn't really give you anywhere to go. Nothing to build, nothing to anticipate, except a huge let-down. Even Joaquin Phoenix, who I think has great potential as an actor, is wasted in a tedious 'angsty yokel' role.

By the time it arrives, we've been awaiting the trademark M.N.S twist so long that we don't really care what it is. And I didn't. Oooooh, never saw that coming, except we know there'll be something, as he seems incapable of writing without a cliche move, rather like we know that Britney will use an upwards chord-change towards the end of her latest 'hit'.

Give it a miss, unless Catwoman is your only alternative. It's pretty boring.

Rating: 5 / 10