Life’s a beach on a night to forget

Will Ferris
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Old (15, 108 minutes)

You don’t need a sixth sense to reach a conclusion with ‘Old’. With a terrifying concept and decent cast behind it, it’s hard to imagine what could go so wrong.

But not even 15 minutes in, the answer was staring me in the face – director M. Night Shyamalan.

Three families are persuaded to visit a private beach. But their idyllic vacation becomes the stuff of nightmares as they find themselves rapidly ageing with no way of escape.

And for a gruelling 108 minutes that felt like an eternity there was no escape from this tripe.

A professional writer recently told me that when a film feels like it’s ending, it should end.

This drags well beyond the conclusion it so rightly deserves. When what we thought to be the last scene played out, and then suddenly cut to a new scene, the audience groaned.

Shame, really as there’s some excellent talent on show – Rufus Sewell and Alex Wolff in particular.

I’m a big believer in the premise that there’s no such thing as a bad actor, only bad directors. Vicky Krieps is a wonderful actress. You only need to watch P.T Anderson’s masterpiece Phantom Thread to see that. Here she seems so dreadfully bored, and the weak dialogue certainly doesn’t work in anyone’s favour. Laughable at the most inappropriate times.

A couple of ‘gasp’ moments and a cheeky bit of bikini bum isn’t going to save your film, and Shyamalan should know this by now. His repertoire is bipolar to say the least. He does a disappointing flop like After Earth, pulls out all the stops for the excellent Split, worries with The Happening, but outshines himself with one of the best things in horror television, Servant.

This is a worrying pattern, not in the least bit helped by the director’s obsession with cameos. Hitchcock knew that if you’re going to appear in your own film, it should be brief but impressionable. Shyamalan is obsessed with hogging the screen.

If I had to summarise Old in one word, it would be ‘wrong’. Everything about it. Just painfully wrong. And if you’re hoping for the usual twist in the tale, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Save yourself the trouble. By the time the credits roll, you’ll have aged 50 years.

RATING: 2/10

Photo: Universal Pictures