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1 December, 2004

Review: The Village (2004)

Just back from the having seen 'The Village' at The Dukes.  I know, I know; the rest of the world probably saw it months ago, but it's fairly easy to predict which films will eventually reach The Dukes, and I prefer to wait and watch films on the biggest screen north of Manchester.  I've never understood the need to have or see the latest big thing at the very earliest opportunity.

'The Sixth Sense' and 'Unbreakable' built up public expectations for another M. Night Shymalan film, which didn't seem to be satisfied for some people, but I went in relatively ignorant (deliberately) of the hype, and thought it pretty good. Much of the story seemed rather underdeveloped, but it was well acted and worked well overall. The female lead, Bryce Dallas Howard, was particularly impressive in her first major role.

As one might expect, there are a couple of major twists in the plot, none of which I anticipated by more than a minute or so. I can't say much without spoiling the story, so I'll just recommend it.

Unlike the trailer. I do recall seeing that in June or July, but what I remember of it was a poor representation of the film itself. If you found the trailer off-putting, don't worry: this isn't some sort of 'slasher' horror movie or Blair Witch clone - I wouldn't have gone if I'd thought it was. Conversely, if you liked the trailer and want a horror movie, you're going to be disappointed, understandably.

So, expectations were raised artificially by the very fact this is a film from the writer and director of earlier, highly-rated films, and the trailer could be considered a misrepresentation of the content. That's considerable baggage, and it's hardly surprising people have been disappointed.
It's been rated a mere 6.5/10 at the IMDb. If people were able to judge it afresh, without preconceptions, I'd suggest many would rate it higher. I do.

[Addendum 12/01/06: I saw another Shymalan film last week: Signs. Wow. That was seriously bad. Avoid it, but if you have seen it, don't let put you off seeing his other films.]

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