Went to see The Village with Matt at the AVCO theater tonight. It was a sponsored screening, with two radio stations, so it was a bit crowded. Ahh, the benefits of reserved seating! The film looked really cool from the trailers – a dark movie with slow tension and long shots that didn’t flash cut, but rather lingered. I knew in advance that the sound would play a heavy part in creating the mood, and was looking forward to being scared and thrilled.
Sadly, I was ultimately let down. While there are a few tense thrilling moments in the film that are well done, the film – for the most part – plays out as languid melodrama. The basic story is (probably) well known by now. A small community of villagers live in a tranquil valley surrounded by a woods. There are creatures in the woods, and they have an unwritten truce – but now the truce appears to be broken. Meanwhile, one of the villagers implores the elder’s council to let them travel beyond the woods to the towns, to get needed medicine. How this all plays out is interesting to watch, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Yes, there are creepy moments with long slow shots and characters and dialogue ultimately set the tone. There are things in the woods that we can’t quite see – but it is freaky to watch – and there are a few great sequences. But like most of M. Night Shyamalan’s films as of late, ultimately the ending is not very satisfying. His need for a “twist” (and inevitably a cameo by himself) proved to be more of a groaner this time than any of his films previously. I thought Signs was a much better film, if anything because there was a really good story there, and there were genuinely great thrilling sequences. (Even if the aliens looked lame.)
James Newton Howard’s score is calm and tranquil, and this has to be the first time I’ve ever seen an end title sequence where the first credit on screen is for the featured violinist – and then the actors. The soundtrack is good listening, but the film is more of a matinee or video rental. Save your money – or go see Spider-Man 2 again.