Old (2021)

dir. M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan was having a half-decent run in his partnership with Universal Pictures, releasing the likes of The Visit, Split, and Glass – hardly groundbreaking, but generally well-received. No wonder Old had to come along to mess it all up. The premise is peak Shyamalan madness: a beach makes people old. That is, tragically, the crux of it. An assortment of merry holidaymakers go to a beach, and start ageing rapidly. They cannot just leave the beach, because something something something. There’s a trademark final-act Shyamalan twist, but the reveal’s impact is somewhat hindered by a) it being heavily indicated at several points through the movie, entirely removing the surprise of it, and b) it making no sense whatsoever to begin with. A lot of Old makes no sense whatsoever – one character dies due to the time quickly passing, and them receiving no nurturing, food or attention in the few minutes equating several years, in order to sustain their life. Why doesn’t this lack of care affect the other characters, who are ageing at the same rate, and also not eating, drinking, or resting? No idea, it’s never explained. This is all quite aside from the abject weirdness of certain parts, like toddlers growing into horny teenagers and acting on their hormone-driven impulses, despite still only technically being toddlers. Old is an entertaining explosion of Shyamalan mayhem, and predictably contains none of the gravitas or incisive social commentary its creator seems to think it does.

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