Old (2021)

old poster 2021 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, good cast, some good concepts

Unnecessary twist, works better when it is a high concept-horror/sci-fi film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Old

Studio:  Universal Pictures/Blinding Edge Pictures/Perfect World Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/Comic Book

Release Date(s):  July 21, 2021 (France)/July 23, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

old agnes granddaughter kathleen chalfant beach

The resort where you get to spend exactly one day at the beach…

Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) and his wife Prisca (Vicky Krieps) are taking a vacation with their children Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and Trent (Nolan River), and they are trying to decide some things in their relationship.  When Guy, Prisca, Maddox, and Trent are taken for an excursion to a remote beach with other families from the resort, they think they’ve found paradise…but something is wrong on the beach.  With the discovery of a dead body, the tourists quickly find that death is coming for them all, and nothing can stop it.

Scripted and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Old is a horror thriller.  The movie is an adaptation of a 2010 French graphic novel called Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederick Peeters.  The movie was met with mixed reviews but a positive box office return.

old dead body beach swimmer

Maybe this is a murder-mystery excursion, and we just didn’t hear about it

Old was really polarizing when it was released, and Shyamalan has burned me multiple times before.  While he started out great, he quickly had a style that in its “surprise twists” became predictable.  Old has great moments, but the twist feels a bit unnecessary.  A ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

The movie really hammers you over the head with its themes.  Every line in the film seems to relate to time and how time changes things…to the point of being unrealistic.  In the study of time, there are interesting and good aspects however.  The idea of people experiencing a lifetime in the course of day and how that extreme living can change perceptions of what is important.  This combines with the time concept which has ideas like blood infections spreading at lightning speed and the fact that a baby’s need cannot be sustained in a world where people age by the minute.

old gael garcia bernal vicky krieps tomasin mckenzie alex wolff

This isn’t the type of “get away” I was thinking of

The twist is a struggle however.  It first relies on a “hey, I forgot a note I was given by a friend” moment which leads to Maddox and Trent escaping the beach, and then it reveals that it is all a medical experiment wrapped around a miracle of nature. While human subjects would be the best subjects, it feels like people disappearing at a resort would be discovered quickly (especially entire families) and there are other options like drones, etc. that could get things on and off the beach for experiments…human test subjects probably wouldn’t need to be involved.

The cast is good, but they have done better films.  Gael Garcia Bernal is the logical parent while Vicky Krieps plays the more emotional parent.  Rufus Sewell is a good “bad guy”.  The children go through multiple actors playing them, but the primarily roles of Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff are good.  There is the strange fact that the characters are supposed to not be aging emotionally and that becomes a bit challenging at times…they would still have hormones and will still hormonally age, but it would hit all at once.

Man…we should have read the one-star reviews on Google…”Food is ok…resort is nice…Took me to a beach and made me old for science”

The movie is shot well.  It is always a good dynamic when a film is set at a beautiful location, but there is a horror.  The film could have gone for a more difficult and more complex beach, but it went simple and that was probably the right choice.  The basic set-up of the movie doesn’t allow for any organic life on the beach, so it can’t have vegetation (though some animals live long enough that they would make it to the beach…but the idea that animals would know to steer clear also is interesting).

Old almost works.  It is better than I expected it to be and there are parts I genuinely enjoyed, but I think that it just needed a bit of tweaking.  It also needed to stick to the high concept science-fiction of Old which leads to real horror.  The twist and the medical stuff adds an extra layer of mystery that explains the concept, but doesn’t need to be as up front as it is.  Old stays fresh for most of its runtime…but it also ages rapidly.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response