Old is a thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, the mind that brought us The Sixth Sense. Because it is Shyamalan, Old follows his formula – a a simple story + a twist = good film.
The simple story in Old – a family on vacation ends up on the secluded beach with a group of strangers. After being there for a short amount of time, they realize something isn’t right – everyone on the beach is aging at a rapid pace and they don’t know why. The group looks for ways off the beach before it’s literally too late.
So…that’s the story without the twist.
Old is film that has an A+ concept. However, executing that concept proved to be a lot tougher. The real meat of the story isn’t the group trying to escape like an episode of LOST. The story is how do these people coexist on beach as they quickly run out of time. The story spends too much time with families hugging and crying like they’re on a ship that’s taking 32 hours to sink. More time showing how aging affected people in different ways, would’ve made for a more interesting story.
Because you know the other shoe is going to drop, you spend most of the film not paying attention to the characters and trying figure out what the twist is.
It seems odd complaining about the story when the real issue is how the twist doesn’t add to it. The twist is not an “a-ha” moment or even a twist that’s interesting. It’s a bridge to a resolution, but truthfully the resolution doesn’t feel earned. Because they’re so many characters on the beach, the film doesn’t spend enough time with anyone. Because of that, the ending doesn’t give you anyone to cheer for.
Old has some interesting pieces but they all don’t fit well together. It’s a film that’s more concerned with being more mysterious than interesting. For some, they’ll enjoy your clustered he middle of the story is. For others, it’s another film from that’s enjoyment hinges on whether or not the twist was good.