The Village is a 2004 horror film directed by M. Night Shyamalan, (The Happening). It tells the story of the inhabitants of an isolated village who stay there because of the creatures that live in the forest surrounding it. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody and Bryce Dallas Howard as some of the residents of the village. Shortly after the film opens, creatures start breaching the borders and leaving ‘warnings’ for them. Given the fact that this is a Shyamalan movie, there are bound to be some twists and turns to the story that I don’t want to give away. Although, to be honest, the film might have actually been better if there hadn’t been any.
The story ends up being incredibly silly after it is all said and done. While there are a couple of big twists, they actually hurt the overall plot of the film. Once you learn what’s really going on, pretty much all tension gets taken away from it. There just isn’t much else to go off of once the big reveal occurs, and the film has to be propelled about another half hour based on the principle of true love alone.
In fact, the last portion of the film ends up being just a blind girl stumbling through the woods. The whole thing ends up being kind of boring by the end, with no tension moving the story forward. We don’t even really get a proper conclusion. There is some resolution, but it is an unsatisfactory one. It’s like if someone forced you to watch a drama, where a character is lying on a hospital bed. The film then decides to end before we find out if the character lives or not. While not the same situation that occurs in The Village, that same type of dissatisfaction is what you end up getting.
The only positive thing to be said about the story is the love-story between the characters played by Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard. Seeing as how this pretty much has to carry the final part of the film, it’s good that the actors have chemistry together, and the love between the characters does come through. They do seem to genuinely care for one another, and while the time they actually spend together is relatively short, it still manages to be an integral part of the film. This is good, because the film really ends up lacking when it comes to being a horror film.
Even when there still is something to be afraid of, you rarely feel scared. There isn’t really a single moment in the film where you need to feel worried, even when the creatures are attacking the village, you never feel for any of the characters. There is nothing to care for in the village, and even if everyone in it were to die, there is practically no reason to care.
I think the main reason for this is because there is no character development at the beginning of the film. A tragedy occurs right the way, sending everyone into a panic mode. We don’t get to learn about any of the characters because they are reacting to outside stimulus right away. They get put in the right mindset before we even get to know them. This leads us to not know about their personalities, and ultimately makes them mean absolutely nothing to the audience.
The acting, while not terrible, doesn’t really impact the film for better or worse. While none of the actors do a poor job, nobody really stands out either. They’re there, and they play their parts just fine, but since you don’t care about anyone in the film, the jobs they do don’t end up mattering much.
If there is one positive thing to take from the film, it’s the fact that it has a nice musical score. It was actually nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical score. So, if nothing else, if you decide to watch it, you’ll have something nice to listen to. It’s also shot nicely, with nothing being wrong with the editing. There’s always something to look at, and while things do often get boring, things are usually going on.
The Village is a film that opened with a bang, and this ultimately ended up hurting it. None of the characters get to develop right off the bat, meaning that when disasters occur, you don’t care for any of them. The twists that the plot goes through end up being silly, and hurt the story. If nothing else, the score of the movie is nice, so at least while you are nodding off from the lack of genuine scares, the music will help you in your quest for sleep.