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The Village (12A)
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
Joaquin Phoenix spreads the "safe colour"
Joaquin Phoenix spreads the "safe colour"

Many of you will have heard of M. Night Shyamalan, although, like me, most of you probably can't pronounce his name. You've probably heard of him, because he wrote and directed The Sixth Sense, famous for its twist at the end, in which Bruce Willis finds out... well, I won't give it away, but if you haven't seen it yet you are seriously behind the times!

The Village is Shyamalan's fourth attempt at a mainstream film with a twist at the end, and he's sticking firmly to the horror genre too. The story this time is of a community in the late 1800's who live in isolation, surrounded by some woods. They do not venture into the woods at all, and in return a load of horrible creatures in the woods don't venture into their village and eat them all alive. It sounds like a good deal, but it prevents the villagers from getting any medical supplies from the outside world when one of them gets really ill.

Sadly, Shyamalan has struggled to recapture the sort of success he enjoyed with The Sixth Sense, and this attempt certainly doesn't live up to its predecessor. The pace is far too slow, and towards the half way mark I was really starting to lose interest. The scary bits are too few and not scary enough, and Shyamalan's attempts to build suspense are so transparent it's embarrassing. There are several scenes where the characters are about to reveal something "shocking", but as we have no idea what that something is, we have to put up with the music building to a daunting crescendo, actors moving painfully slowly and camera angles that don't show you what you want to see - all of which serves to frustrate rather than intrigue.

I should say that not everything in this film is bad - for example the acting is pretty good. The always-excellent Joaquin Phoenix does well and newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Ron Howard, who some will still remember as Richie from Happy Days) gives a fine performance too.

Unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives in this film by too much, and it simply isn't interesting enough for my money. With plenty of good releases out at the moment, I'd be inclined to see any of The Bourne Supremacy, I, Robot, Two Brothers or pretty much anything else instead.

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Length: 108 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site: http://thevillage.movies.go.com/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368447/
Release Date: 20th August 2004

Top Five Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)
User Rating: 0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0% (0.0%)

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