Night Shyamalan is often known as the modern master of suspense. He’s created films that have twists and turns, unlike anything you’ve seen, and created iconic sequences that will resonate with audiences for generations. In fact, some of his work has become genuinely iconic in popular culture, such as the fantastic ending of The Sixth Sense, the characters of Unbreakable, or the entirety of Signs.
There’s nothing this man can’t do in the suspense department, creating horrifying imagery, terrifying jump scares, and intensity the likes of which is unknown in most other filmmakers’ works. However, despite all that talent, The Village is one of the outliers in his filmography, a film that was both incredible and terrible at the same time.
How to Download The Village (2004)
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The Village Review
The plot of this film is centered on a rural village in America, a village so far away from the reaches of modernity that it essentially believes in parallel universes and random monsters. Of course, the threat of this monster becomes more and more evident as the film goes on, as the monster in the surrounding woods of this village begins to stalk and hunt down one of the members of this community. The aftermath of this incident leads to a young blind girl heading out and venturing into the woods to take down this monster with help from beyond.
Night Shyamalan’s first entry into the world of period films is something of a rhythmic disaster, this film has fantastic pacing from beginning to end and features one of the craziest twists in the history of this filmmaker’s catalog. However, it also suffers from a lack of direction in many different forms, especially when it comes to the visual depiction of many of its innuendos and mythologies.
Shyamalan is a very visual director, he chooses to visualize stuff rather than showcase it through dialogue, which is not present here in any shape or form. The film suffers from an extreme problem known as “too much exposition”, as in, every few minutes the characters will explain what’s happening on screen. This takes away from the premise, and the suspense that this film features. However, it doesn’t ruin the final twice in the project, as it is just as effective as it would have been without the exposition.
Not to mention, the performances in this film could have been much better in my opinion. Bryce Dallas Howard plays the main protagonist in the film, and she does a decent job of playing her character yet she feels quite materialized as compared to the performances in films such as The Sixth Sense and Signs. The side characters also don’t get much room to breathe, as they are hardly just there for moments that develop them, and only there in the scenes that further the plot of the film.
This disconnect is also present visually, in terms of the cinematography the film feels odd to look at. There is good camera work here, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t convey much in terms of story. The shots are pretty for the sake of being pretty rather than actually serving a greater purpose in the story. The visual design of this film suffers from these flaws and brings down the quality of the film drastically.
A longtime collaborator of Shyamalan’s, composer James Newton Howard makes a triumphant return to film composing with The Village. This is one aspect of this film that cannot be understated, as the music adds so many layers to the overall plot and story of the film. The music works in ways that the visuals were supposed to, yet it isn’t hindered by the plot.
The Village is a spiritual film, something that is ethereal and beautiful in its own right. Yet in terms of filmmaking, it suffers heavily from a lack of visual direction, a sense of urgency, and a lack of good acting. This was M. Night Shyamalan’s weakest film since The Sixth Sense and was only overtaken by projects that came afterward. The ambition was there, but the execution just felt wrong.
- Great soundtrack
- Fantastic pacing, the tension builds throughout the film
- A decent script with an ambitious story
- Lackluster direction
- Visually lacking storytelling
- The acting was not great