Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Village 

M. Night Shyamalan has once more presented the world with a creepy movie. He doesn't go for horror - just creepiness. That feeling that something is there but you just can't quite make it out, that you see dead people, that something about you is different.

The village of the title is Covington, a small village in which families live a borderline idyllic life. Tragedies occur, such as the illness-related death of a 7-year-old boy whose funeral we see in the beginning, but the villagers "are grateful for the time they are given." We see from the boy's gravestone that we are in the late 1800's. After the funeral, life returns to normal, and Shyamalan shows us the small details of their everyday life: washing the dishes, sweeping the porch, pursuing young love. But something else is there. The porch sweepers freeze when they see a bright red flower, then they rush to bury it before returning to their chores. Villagers keep watch from towers at the border between the village and the woods. Yes, something is out there, but they are in a truce with the villagers. The villagers don't enter the woods, and the creatures don't enter the village. Until...

Shyamalan chose a simple style for this story. The villagers live a simple life, the people (and the actors) wear no adornments. The soundtrack for the most part is haunting violin music, provided by Hilary Hahn. The primary characters include William Hurt, Sigorney Weaver, and Cherry Jones as some of the elders, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrian Brody and Judy Greer as some of the young adults. All are fabulous, but Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Ron Howard) was outstanding.

I don't want to give away any details, so I'll just say that Shyamalan rides victorious once again.

Reality check: The Girl just thought it was okay. It's a steady, patient movie, and she prefers things to move along a bit more quickly. I was entranced and thought it was done perfectly. She usually doesn't like period pieces, but she said that aspect didn't bother her this time.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:39 PM