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The Village: better than Signs

Author: Tony
Posted: 05 Aug 2004 you've seen an M. Night Shyamalan movie, you know how they go. They're supposed to be very scary, and rely on suggestion and suspense moreso than a lot of terrifying visual imagery. The score leads you where Mr. Shyamalan wants you to go, and at the right time, he shows you fleeting glimpses of what you're supposed to be terrified of during that two hours of your life he's currently taking up.

Well, while we could have hoped he'd taken his game up a notch. Maybe he could have taken what made The Sixth Sense great, cut out what made Signs an ultimate failure, and added the charisma and talent of the stars of Unbreakable. Maybe he could have taken all these things and created something greater than the sum of the parts. He could have dropped the horror movie of the summer.

Instead, we got the Village. Fucking woohoo.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching The Village. The story was solid pretty much the whole way through the movie, and the scary parts were definitely scary for a movie. The inevitable Shyamalan plot twist also was unexpected, in that way that he tends to do. But it lacked.

It lacked solid acting. Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard, the male and female leads, respectively, put on a rock-solid performance. The supporting cast, however, sounds stilted and forced which, actually, may be a plot device in certain respects. I'm not giving them the benefit of the doubt this time, though.

I also have to say that the trailers promised a lot more horror and a lot less romance. Seeing as the movie is essentially a love story with some scary bits thrown in to sucker people into going, some warning would have been nice. I wasn't opposed to the love story part; I thought it was touching and well-done. I just didn't see it coming, and it wasn't a story arc I was pumped to see.

So, all in all? If you can catch it as a matinee, like I did, go for it. If not, wait for DVD. Keep in mind, though, it's not a bad movie. Especially if you're a fan of Shyamalan's work, which I happen to be. It's totally a step up from Signs, but it just lacks the oomph The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable brought to the screen.

Learn a lesson, M. Night. Stick with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. You're kinda lost without them.

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