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The Village (Widescreen Vista Series) (2004)

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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Village of Idiots

  • Aug 3, 2004
  • by
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 haunted by creatures that are referred to as "Those we do not speak of" and are bound within the borders of their village by a long-standing set of rules. The rules consist of not having a trace of the color red anywhere within the town, and never breaking the boarders of the village as angering the creatures or venturing into their territory is sure to result in certain death.
Under the leadership of Edward Walker (William Hurt), the village has grown and a truce has been maintained with the creatures by following the rules of conduct that have been established. Walker is a happy man as his oldest daughter is marrying and his blind younger daughter Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) is becoming very close to Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix). On what should be joyous time in the community, instead becomes one of fear as mutilated animals and bizarre sightings have been found throughout the village indicating that the creatures from the woods have become annoyed and are making their displeasure with the local townsfolk known.
Lucius has provoked this situation by his challenge of the borders and has admitted that he has ventured into the woods and desires to travel to the towns that the elders speak of that lay beyond the woods. This is put off as youthful indiscretions and when Lucius agrees not to travel and his intentions to marry Ivy, things seem to be right in the world, especially to his mother Alice (Sigourney Weaver), who worried that her son would meet a bad end the same way her late husband did.
Things do not go as planned as an unforeseen accident has caused dire repercussions for the town and forces the town elders to allow travel beyond the village as not doing so can have even larger repercussions than doing so.

What should be a tight thriller instead becomes a mess as "The Village" suffers from a bad plot and terrible sequencing that eliminates much of the suspense in the film. We were asked not to reveal the surprise ending, but suffice it to say, that 6 minutes into the film, I looked at my watch, and told my friend what I thought the surprise twist would be. Low and behold, I was dead on as the film offers very little surprises.

This is a tragic shame as the concept of the film is good and the cast and performances are first rate especially Adrian Brody in a supporting performance and the amazing work of Hurt and Phoenix. Sadly it all becomes much ado about nothing as the film promises so much and yet delivers amazingly little. Writer/Director M. Night Shyamlan has created 2/3 of a great film but the pacing of the film and resolution of the key events of the story are so badly done, they make you wonder if he was asleep. Case in point, there is a key plot point that is revealed in the film that later undermines a sequence in the woods and destroys a golden opportunity of discovery and shock for the audience as what should be a tense moment with a shocking conclusion is instead watered down by information that was revealed in a flashback that never should have been shown to the audience prior to the scene.

This is such a hard film to review as I find fault with segments yet am unable to really explain my criticisms without giving away key points to the plot. I guess the best way to describe the film would be to think of it as an episode of "The Outer Limits" or "Twilight Zone". It has a great premise, but unlike the two series, the outcome is badly done and at least for me, very easy to see coming. At least it took me 15 minutes to see the twist in "The Sixth Sense", and allowed me to enjoy the story despite this fact. Once I figured out what twist the story would take, the film implodes as the entire premise is based upon a flimsy base that once exposed, causes the film to implode like a house of cards.

My advice, wait for the DVD.

2.5 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach


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November 15, 2010
This grew on me after awhile. But it still wasn't impressive nice review!
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 17, 2005
"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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … 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
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"I'm Sadly Disappointed"
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