I’m pretty sure almost every review of OLD will explore some kind of retrospective on the career of writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. This review will not be an exception as his filmography leaves a lot to be said and everyone has something unique to say about his career. The man became an instant superstar thanks to the success of The Sixth Sense and became known for his twist endings. Any trailer with his name attached instantly invites social media theories as to what the ending will be. He’s managed to survive some critical backlash and is back as a director whose films feel like events. He has a unique narrative style, embraces drama as the core of a horror story, and every project feels personal. OLD is his latest offering and the story is once again one with very big ideas.
A family of four led by Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps take a vacation on a resort, not exactly hiding that the marriage is about to end. Soon into their stay, they are taken to a hidden, but beautiful beach. Other visitors come by and they all quickly realize they are physically unable to leave. On top of that, they are aging at a superhuman rate, most notably with the children who become teenagers before our eyes. What follows are the various versions of emotional distress as well as their own suspicions of what brought them there.
OLD is definitely one of Shyamalan’s best efforts. He loves these characters and gives them all their own space on the beach without feeling like filler. He ventures as much as he can into the body horror sub-genre that a PG-13 rating will allow. Different characters face various side effects of aging, resulting in both funny and heartbreaking moments.
The 4K/Blu-ray set has a few short features somewhat delving into behind the scenes. What’s cute to see is that Shyamalan has turned his career into a family affair, involving his daughters in various roles of the production. There’s a discussion of the difficulties of shooting during hurricane season without insurance as well as filming during the height of COVID-19. A handful of deleted scenes are included. What would have benefited the package is a Shyamalan commentary. The man clearly has a passion for cinema and his work which could provide some real insight here.
The UHD disc is a beautiful sight to watch. The bright resort and beach locations shine vividly onscreen and Shyamalan knew exactly what he was doing when he filmed this. Colors truly pop and I never wanted to jump into an ocean so quickly since watching this at home. Whether you like OLD or not, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is truly something to admire. While the movie itself is not a bombastic soundtrack, the beach setting is utilized beautifully. Waves are constantly crashing in surround speakers. Shyamalan’s love for tracking shots is accompanied by the various characters’ dialogue and their surroundings, captured in the sound mix.
OLD didn’t break any records at the box office, primarily due to being released when the pandemic was still scaring audiences away. However, it now has a beautiful-looking and beautiful-sounding home video release that I hope helps give birth to new fans.
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller film, OLD, is now available to own on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, and DVD.