The Village

[rate 3]
Thanks to Assistant Manager Carson Kennedy I lucked into a technical screening of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” tonight at around 12:30am (hmmm, that makes it Friday morning) AFTER seeing the very last Atlanta screening of the original Japanese language version of “Godzilla” at the Landmark Cinemas over on Monroe.

I’m giving it three and a half red-cloaked scary things out of five.

M.Night’s kingdom is founded on unexpected twists, and there are lots of strange little surprises to keep you in this game; even when you begin to smell Shyamalan’s little secret. I jumped in my seat a few times, and found several of the performances interesting, if uncompelling.

Simple, stark, frightening, beautiful, verging on the edge of pretension, this movie is many things during the course of two hours – and is eminently watchable thanks to the beautiful blind girl played by Bryce Dallas Howard, the mad child/man of Adrien Brody, the tight-jawed fearlessness of Joaquin Phoenix, a demure Sigourney Weaver and an eternally professorial William Hurt. And having creepy boogeymen living in the woods didn’t hurt.

More than anything “The Village” reminded me of a Hammer Horror film from the 70’s, but with better cinematography, better acting and a violinist whose incessant sawing will give you the willies simply due to her discordance. If you see the film you’ll note that the violinist, Hilary Hahn, is the first or second name to appear in the end credits; so important was her contribution.

I enjoyed the slow reveal of the customs of the village, as well as its taboos. By the end of the film I was just as frightened of the woods as the inhabitants of the village, even though it didn’t make sense to be. That’s where M.Night scored points.

I don’t even want to tell you about the monsters in the movie, they’re far stranger and more terrible than you’d imagine.

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