THEATRICAL REVIEW: Shyamalan’s “Old” has some new tricks up its sleeve

M. Night Shyamalan continues to be one of the most polarizing working directors in the industry. His craft and sense of storytelling sometimes feels unmatched.

Other times, it’s like watching a slow-moving narrative train wreck. Fortunately, for all of our sake, his new offering Old is a bit more Unbreakable and a bit less Lady In The Water.

It’s been a really long time since the twist-master took a concept that he didn’t create himself, but here he does an admirable job with Frederick Peeters and Pierre-Oscar Levy’s graphic novel Sandcastle. It’s brought to the screen with a fervour that’s necessary for the material.

As with all his thrillers, it’s a concept that’s larger-than-life, and here a group of hotel guests go to a secluded beach to rest while on vacation, and soon realize the area is causing them to age rapidly. They can’t escape and are trying to find ways to slow the process before they are reduced to nothing.

The cast – not the least of which includes an incredible supporting turn from underrated Rufus Sewell – is impeccable. Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, and Ken Leung are all absolutely fantastic.

But it’s the young actors – Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff and Eliza Scanlen – who really make this one soar. They’re elementary-aged kids trapped in teenager bodies for most the film, and Wolff especially is a force.

Director Shyamalan brings his A-game to this tense, stylistic thriller, and the sense of mystery and final reveal will be all you hoped for.

4/5 Stars

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