The Village

From all the previews last summer, we were both expecting a horror/suspense film. Some day, I’ll learn to not trust those advertisements.

M. Night Shyamalan's The Village

It snowed on Wednesday night, so Angela unexpectedly got to come home from work early. We stayed in and watched M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Village. From all the previews last summer, we were both expecting a horror/suspense film. Some day, I’ll learn to not trust those advertisements. Angela, who isn’t the fan of horror films that I am, wanted to watch the film with me around, lights on, and surround sound turned off. Well, that’s not the best way to watch a DVD at home, but oh well.

The film is Shyamalan‘s take on a period piece. The actors follow through with the idea superbly. His method of long, static shots really lends itself to the period, as well. This film shot with flashy, MTV-style editing would have been horrible. Now, about the period: I got the impression of a late 19th century, Transcendentalist style utopia. I couldn’t think that some (if not all) of the people involved with this had recently read Thoreau. I certainly got the impression that the character of Edward Walker, played by William Hurt, had at some point.

The Village doesn’t have the same linearity of Signs, which was basically your straight-forward alien invasion/suspense film. Its gift was in its ability to come full circle with story elements. The Village is more like The Sixth Sense in that it contains the kind of twist that alter the very way you perceive what it is that you’re watching. A horror film becomes a love film. It’s almost like Poltergeist being mashed with Ghost, but with much better direction.

However, if The Sixth Sense had a hard right turn at the half-way point, then this film certainly has two. One in the final meeting of Lucius and Noah and another in the opposite direction at the forbidden shed. Even if you expect the dramatic twists (and you do with Shyamalan at this point) and even if you can guess what’s coming next, Shyamalan doesn’t fail to impress. He has a gift for film making, and even more so for story telling. I have noticed that, after watching the scenes he deleted from his film, I can tell that they fell out in the editing room and not when he had a chance to re-shoot some scenes. Several of his films will make mention of an incident that we only later see in a deleted sequence. Given how much I enjoy his movies, I’ll forgive him this.

I think, on the whole, this film was over-hyped yet highly under-rated. Sure, the media blitz was huge and very misdirecting. I imagine the word-of-mouth stopped after the first weekend just because everybody told their friends ‘It’s not scary at all!’ Most of my favorite films are ones that weren’t anything at all like I was expecting, instead they were much better. I can’t tell you if, in a year or two, I’ll be dying to watch The Village all over again, but I can say that I did really enjoy the movie.

2 thoughts on “The Village”

  1. I agree with you whole heartedly about this film. So many people had told me they were sorely disappointed with this film. I rented it & was really moved by it. Something about the antagonist (“Those Whom We Don’t Speak of”) scared me really deeply. I’m color blind for the most part, but the use of colors to separate good & evil really made since to me. Gold and Red… very beutiful colors….

  2. Dave – I was fortunate in that either no one I know had seen the film, or they just didn’t enough about it either way to tell me what they thought. I always seem to enjoy films more when I really don’t know what to think about them.
    You know that’s a weird side effect of The Long Tail, in that it kind of requires some way to find things of interest. However, by doing that, you are getting some sort of preconceived notion about what a movie is, what an album sounds like, how action-packed a game is… whatever. It spoils some of the fun of discovery. Of course, if you’re way out on the tail, then everyone feels "in on it." It’s also good to have people who you really trust to just tell you "watch this movie&quot or "listen to this band.&quot That way you just go buy or rent it and feel good that you’ll enjoy your own discovery.

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