Directed by M.Night Shyamalan (director of Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable), The Village tells a story of a small, isolated group located in the countryside, whose beliefs become tested. The group live by strict rules, including not being allowed to walk outside of the village’s boundaries. We also find out this rule exists because of the creatures who live outside the village, who will surely attack the town and its people if anyone steps into the creature’s territory.
The film’s major focus is on two key characters. These characters are Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy (Dallas Bryce Howard), who are in love. Shortly after a tragic event, Lucius requires an urgent amount of medical supplies from the outside world. Will Ivy risk her life to venture to the outside world, amongst the monsters, to save the love of her life? Would she even survive? Oh- I should also mention that Ivy is also completely blind…
The Village is very different to M.Night’s previous films. This time we are not talking about Ghosts, Aliens or Superheros, but in fact we are talking about Monsters in the night and the fear that comes with them. After he provided a great performance in Signs, M. Night was keen to work with Joaquin Phoenix once again. The cast list here also includes Adrian Brody, William Hurt & Sigourney Weaver. While it was great to see Joaquin Phoenix delivering another solid performance, it was actually the actress Dallas Bryce Howard who absolutely amazed me. I still remember sitting in my cinema chair watching this movie for the 1st time, just in awe of her performance. For me, this was the 1st time I had seen this actress and to this day I feel it’s one of her best performances.
Without giving you spoilers, The Village is full of mystery and is very much a romantic film. While the film carries many questions throughout the duration, all questions are answered by the end. As we’ve seen in previous films, M.Night loves to play with his audiences, and, most importantly, loves to build suspense as viewers continue to guess what the hell is going on. Lucius (Joaquin) is a fantastic character. As the film begins, we understand that Lucius is a brave and well-respected man within the town. He also holds the town’s record for standing on the edge of the “boundary zone”. Despite this bravery, he is also a gentleman when it comes to caring for Ivy. Lucius will do anything for her and won’t sleep nor rest unless he knows she is safe and well protected. Ivy is also a strong character, which I feel is one of the things that Lucius loves and admires about her. While Ivy is blind, it’s not something that will stop her from living life and she will do whatever it takes to survive in this world, even risking her life for the man she loves. Other than knowing about these two major characters, we are given very little to no information about the town until later in the film.
Like previous M.Night thrillers, we once again have a jaw-dropping music score from James Newton Howard that is truly powerful and adds incredibly to the film’s suspense and emotional moments. To this day, the film’s soundtrack still gives me goosebumps and makes the hair on my arms stand up.
Overall, if you’ve never seen The Village perhaps this Halloween it should be added to your watchlist. While this might not be M.Night best film, it’s still a positive experience for those who enjoy a thriller with a bonus touch of romance. While the ending of the film may not be everyone’s favourite twist, M.Night doesn’t cheat on his audience. I feel this film delivers something very different and once again M.Night brings something very creative to the screen. To this day, I feel it is a film that doesn’t get enough attention or discussion.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden