Director Shymalan really shows us the effectiveness of the "less is more" idea. Throughout most of the movie, he doesn an incredible job of building up a sense of dread. We spend much of the movie on the edge of our seats, waiting for something horrible to happen. There are many wonderful moments when we can almost feel the dread the family is going through. We sense the tension in the family, as well as the love, and of course, the fear of dying. Near the end, when they are down in their cellar, all the lights go out. That's a terrifying moment, not because the lights went out, but because of all the tension leading up to it, and the worst thing that could happen if FOR THE LIGHTS TO GO OUT, because we've just GOT to see what's happening!!!
Joacquin Phoenix is very good in the movie, playing a more ordinary guy than he's been asked to in a long time. Mel Gibson, although retaining some of his usual mannerisms, is effecitve and touching. The kids are great. The editing and cinematography are first rate, and Shymalan the DIRECTOR does everything right.
Shymalan the writer lets us down BIG TIME. I'm sorry, but the ending is very disappointing. We've had a terrific build up through 95% of the movie, but the final couple of scenes are just a huge letdown. Never have I said "THAT'S IT????" with more disappointment and fervor. I highly recommend the movie, and think most will enjoy it, but just be prepared for a payoff that doesn't rival THE SIXTH SENSE's or even UNBREAKABLE's. But it is still creepier than any movie in a long time.
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