The film introduces a family of four who are travelling to a holiday resort. Upon arriving at the resort, everything seems lovely and luxurious. The family begins to interact with other members at the resort who are also on vacation for different purposes and reasons. Soon, our leading family are invited to visit a nearby beach far away from every bit of distraction and life. With such a lovely offer to relax as a family, they accept. But upon their arrival, they make several discoveries about the beach and their surroundings.
Firstly, the family discover they were not the only ones who were invited, and others from the resort appear to have received the same invite to visit the secluded beach. Secondly, there is something odd about those who are spending time on the beach. As the leading characters attempt to chill and relax, they begin to undergo significant changes in their physical appearance, including aging rapidly. To top it off, no matter how hard they try, the group cannot escape the beach.
While this review will be spoiler-free from any huge plot details, I can proudly say director M.Night Shyamalan delivers a new creation with aspects of horror, thriller and my personal favourite, mystery. Nothing relating to this film’s plot is familiar; everything on screen is different and has a fresh concept. The film sets up a fantastic plot with plenty of mysteries and questions for its viewers. I found myself invested shortly after the film’s opening, and like most M.Night films, I became determined to know the answers as to why many odd things were occurring. I found myself highly curious if leading characters (even the unlikeable ones) would survive or fail. The musical score had moments that stood out and felt highly fitting.
The plot naturally grows into something bigger and louder throughout the film. During the first act, the pacing felt slightly fast, and the transitions almost felt unfitting. As the plot picks up pace, so do the aspects of horror and uncomfortable moments. The film does not focus on gore or blood and guts but aims to be creative with its filming style and building suspense. That being said, M.Night does have a few moments where I felt he pushes the limits as much as possible within the classification rating.
I truly enjoyed this film plot, but some aspects were questionable and distracting. With many characters introduced during the first act, I found myself questioning where certain characters were during certain key moments. If the group was stuck on a beach, indeed, they cannot be too far away, I thought to myself. I found myself accepting that different characters were being focused on, and others just came into play at different/later times.
Once again, I enjoyed the director’s filming style—I especially enjoyed several shots he used to capture emotions and create dramatic suspense. I loved the long, smooth shots of the character’s emotions, allowing the audience to feel like a fly on the wall. This style feels familiar to the director, but fans always welcome it. Shots that use the reflection in windows or mirrors are just one example of shots we have seen in previous films, but I always enjoy this element and creativity.
Overall, I found many likeable elements about this film, especially the plot and mysteries introduced and carried through the entire duration. I found the finale rewarding. The performances for the majority are also excellent. Still, my personal favourite is witnessing the classic filming style and suspenseful elements from the director M. Night Shyamalan, who manages to bring a film that once again is something new, creative, and thrilling. Old (2021) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas!