Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell
Release Date: October 19, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
This chilling, mysterious new thriller follows a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day.
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
From M. Night Shyamalan comes ‘Old’ which follows a family of four as they set out for a relaxing tropical vacation before tackling some difficult news. After arriving at the resort and getting settled, they are offered a unique opportunity by a staff member to be driven to a secluded beach surrounded by massive rocks and other gorgeous scenery where they can relax in a beautiful and fairly unpopulated area that most are not privy too. Unable to resist the temptation, the family joins a few other groups of people and heads to the secret beach, but once they get settled strange things begin to occur and before long they realize that every one of them has somehow begun to rapidly age. Only making things that much worse, they soon discover that there is no way to exit the beach, even the way they entered.
Written for the screen and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (Glass, The Visit) and based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle” by Pierre-Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters respectively, Shyamalan does a great job at the helm of ‘Old’ guiding along the tension, beauty and uncertainty with care. The film definitely owes some credit to the cast which includes Gael García Bernal (TV’s Mozart in the Jungle), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Rufus Sewell (The Father), Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon), Nikki Amuka-Bird (TV’s Avenue 5) Ken Leung (TV’s Lost) and more, the majority each offering quite solid performances in their respective roles for the most part and helping the film to move along as smoothly as it does.
‘Old’ is an entertaining, curious and at times somewhat intense mystery about a group of people who arrive on a secret beach only to soon see their lives drastically passing them by. Complimented by breathtaking surroundings and utilizing the capable cast to allow plenty of emotion to seep into the uncertain situation these characters find themselves thrust into. It’s certainly no simple task to dedicate nearly ninety minutes of screen time to one group of people centered in a single location with nothing but water, rocks and sand surrounding them, but Shyamalan makes it work better than some might imagine. By churning out plenty of new revelations, curious situations and clashes between the different families with the overall mystery looming its core, it quickly proves itself to be a well-crafted outing that never becomes the slightest bit dull or uninteresting along its course. The mystery at the heart of the tale is never intentionally hidden from the audience either, and while I won’t go into spoiler territory I will say that there are a good handful of clues and references that hint at what’s really going on and Shyamalan never tries to blind us to the truth, instead letting minor tidbits seep into the story along the way until everything is eventually fully revealed. I would certainly encourage fans of M. Night Shyamalan’s work and anyone that enjoys a fairly solid thriller with plenty of gorgeous scenery to try and find the opportunity to check out ‘Old’ whenever possible.
Overall, ‘Old’ is an engaging and tense mystery with a pretty solid cast to keep it moving along smoothly and a truly beautiful location with breathtaking scenery at every turn that always makes it a pleasure simply to behold. It may not be Shyamalan’s finest offering to date, but it’s also far from his worst and is definitely curious and entertaining enough to make it well worth a watch. ‘Old’ is recommended for fans of Shyamalan’s work in general, along with anyone who enjoys an engulfing and beautifully shot mystery with a capable cast to help back it up. If you’re already even the slightest bit curious or intrigued by this one then it’s probably at least worth two hours of your time and coughing up the price of a rental whenever you happen to have some free time on your hands.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Old’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent altogether and provides a clean, sharp and wonderfully detailed presentation from start to finish that perfectly captures the stunning surroundings within. It holds up without issue even during the darkly lit sequences and never allows anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal that never falters or disappoints and it should thrill fans as well as first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, sharp and at times fairly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send music, crashing waves and other nature effects, along with more throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity and never resulting in any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a great Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that does its job well throughout and should not disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Old’ includes some nice bonus content that fans of the film should enjoy. Included on the release are a handful of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 8 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Shyamalan Family Business’ (running approximately 8 minutes), ‘All the Beach is A Stage’ (approximately 9 minutes), ‘Nightmares in Paradise’ (7 minutes) and ‘A Family in The Moment’ (6 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Old’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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