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The Village (Widescreen Vista Series) (2004)

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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Twisty, But Not As Good As Shyamalan's Other Flicks

  • Jan 17, 2005
  • by
"The Village" is the latest heaping helping of creepiness served up by M. Night Shyamalan. There are plenty of twists and turns(as expected), and an excellent ending, but the guts of this story run a little thin.

I won't spoil this story for anyone by saying what will happen, but I offer a brief synopsis of what's going on in the film. A small village of people are living in an area surrounded by Covington Woods. As long as they do not cross into the woods, the creatures that live there will leave them alone. However, cross the torch-lined barrier into the forest and the red-cloaked baddies come after you with revenge on their minds. When a situation arises needing urgent medical care, one person decides to cross into the unknown to seek out help. What follows is classic Shyamalan, full of confusing twists and surprising turns.

I really enjoyed this film, but I felt like Shyamalan gave up too many clues early in the movie. He neatly blurred the viewers concept of what was happening in "The Village" with a couple of fun twists late in the movie, but by that time I already had a pretty good idea of what was really going on. I will say that the ending was somewhat expected from the get-go, but this was still an enjoyable film to watch.

As far as suspense is concerned, Shyamalan has perfected the art of making the viewer "peek around the door." You notice this in all of his films. When you hear a noise or see a flicker in the corner of your eye, you immediately begin to try and look around the corner, door, etc., as if you were part of the movie. This is one of the best aspects of all of M. Night's films and has become a lost art in modern cinema as far as I'm concerned. He has also mastered the creepy factor of true horror films. He'd rather make you think about the "monster" or "alien" instead of see it. "The Village" is a good representation of both of these techniques. M. Night has also got the "well, I'll be" aspect down pat. When you finally realize what is going on, you want to kick yourself because the truth has been staring at you on the screen all along.

The acting in this film is brilliant. Joaquin Phoenix does a great job in this movie, perhaps better than his performance in "Signs." Bryce Dallas Howard is the best performer in this flick. She is both beautiful and graceful and has a solid grasp on her character. Adrien Brody is convincing as the village simpleton, and you feel quite a bit of pain for his character. The rest of the cast, including William Hurt, does a wonderful job.

Granted, this film is a little sluggish. It moves at a pace somewhat slower than "Signs" and seems to need a kick to get it moving once in awhile. Other than that, the film is fun to watch. There are some really creepy moments in store for the viewer, and they are pulled off in a way that made me quite uncomfortable for a good portion of the film.

As always, M. Night throws in one of his old home movies to "terrorize" the audience in the extras(I never was really fond of German Shepherds). There are also production photos, "Bryce's Diary," and plenty of other fun extras for folks who dig that kind of stuff.

In closing, if you enjoyed "Signs" and "The Sixth Sense," I'm sure you'll find this movie satisfying. If "Unbreakable" is your favorite M. Night Shyamalan flick, you may want to skip this one.

Highly recommended to fans of Shyamalan and those who like their movies with more intelligence and less whiz-bang effects.

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More The Village (2004) reviews
review by . November 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Spooky fun
Life in the tiny 19th century village of Covington Woods is idyllic; the townfolk live in harmony, completely isolated from the distant Towns that are feared and never visited. The only problem is the constant threat of the hideous, red monsters that lurk in the woods and send the villagers rushing to their cellars every so often. Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), the plucky, blind daughter of elder Walker (William Hurt), has fallen in love with strong and shy Luscious (Joaquin Phoenix), son of the Widow …
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
I liked this more than the rest of my family did. They seemed to feel cheated by the ending. I felt like it was inevitable and nicely done.
review by . July 28, 2009
After films such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs became huge successes, M. Night had pretty much established himself.  An article in Newsweek went so far as to name him the next Steven Spielberg.  By now Newsweek is probably denying they ever said that, but they did.  And most of us wanted to truly believe that.  In terms of directing, there's really not much wrong with M. Night.  Truly not.  He usually has good camera work and a good atmosphere about his …
review by . September 09, 2009
   I know that this movie has a lot of bad reviews because many people did not like the ending. But I did. Though I kind of figured out some of it the first time a creature makes its appearance, I had no problem with it.       The acting is first-rate! The movie seems to flow very well. It never seemed to get boring. There is some nice comic relief such as when a group of youths play "chicken" against the creatures by going into the woods and seeing how long …
review by . June 20, 2006
M. Night Shyamalan definitely did himself a disservice in releasing "The Sixth Sense". Brilliant as the film was, its "twist" ending was so powerful that audiences the world over expected nothing less from the talented young director. And so, Shyamalan has been trying with every single outing since to recapture that sense of awe.    Although many have made scathing remarks about the ending of "The Village", it is perhaps his most perfect since "The Sixth Sense"; though by no …
review by . July 31, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great story idea, fantastic ending, fitting atmosphere, great actors...     Cons: ...who had no chemistry. Story needs more "filling"     The Bottom Line: Unfortunately, I nodded, and you probably will too. It's a great story idea, but you'll want to wait for this one on video.     I have been seeing previews for the Village for who knows how long, and have been eagerly awaiting its release in the theatres. Directed, written, and …
review by . January 23, 2005
Nay-say what you will, M. Night Shyamalan is consistent in his apparent mission to encourage his audience to look beyond the obvious to discover aberrant alternatives to the explanation of nature, including humans and their motivations. THE VILLAGE is a very good movie if taken as another chapter in Shyamalan's odyssey. If it doesn't have the shock jolt that his early successful film THE SIXTH SENSE had, then perhaps it is more because we as audience are beginning to understand his take on reality …
review by . January 15, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
In THE VILLAGE, the people in a small, rural Pennsylvania town of yesteryear have a pact with creatures who live in the woods surrounding the village. The townspeople stay out of the woods and the creatures stay out of the village. But then the creatures begin appearing in the village. No one knows why. Strange and unusual events occur more frequently until an attempted murder is made upon one of the village's most promising future leaders, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix). In order to save the young …
review by . August 03, 2004
Pros: Good Cast and Setup.     Cons: Bad pacing and absurd finale.      The Bottom Line: A grand premise destroyed by absurdity.     Deep within a lush meadow a thriving community is enjoying a communal dinner following the passing of a young member of the town. The smiles and laughter that emerge from those seated at the table hide that fact that the town lives in perpetual fear of an unspeakable evil.   The towns residents are …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #17
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Even when his trademark twist-ending formula wears worrisomely thin as it does inThe Village, M. Night Shyamalan is a true showman who knows how to serve up a spookfest. He's derailed this time by a howler of a "surprise" lifted almost directly from "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim," an episode ofThe Twilight Zonestarring Cliff Robertson that originally aired in 1961. Even if you're unfamiliar with that Rod Serling scenario, you'll have a good chance of guessing the surprise, which ranks well belowThe Sixth SenseandSignson Shyamalan's shock-o-meter. That leaves you to appreciate Shyamalan's proven strengths, including a sharp eye for fear-laden compositions, a general sense of unease, delicate handling of fine actors (alas, most of them wasted here, save for Bryce Dallas Howard in a promising debut), and the cautious concealment of his ruse, which in this case involves a 19th-century village that maintains an anxious truce with dreadful creatures that live in the forbidden woods nearby. Will any of this take anyone by genuine surprise? That seems unlikely, since Emperor Shyamalan has clearly lost his clothes inThe Village, but it's nice to have him around to scare us, even if he doesn't always succeed.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
First to Review

"I'm Sadly Disappointed"
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