As with most M Night Shyamalan films – pretty much bar his very first with The Sixth Sense – his movies always prove to be divisive.

And this is no different.

As always, there’s an intriguing premise involved, but sometimes the execution doesn’t always come off – with this being at its strongest in the first hour.

The Cappa family – Dad Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal), Mum Prisca (Vicky Krieps) and kids Trent and Maddox – travel to a luscious tropical resort (which Prisca found for a ‘steal’ online) for a final holiday before the parents divorce (unbeknown to the kids).

On their first day, on the advice of the resort manager, the family are whisked off to a secluded beach, also occupied by three other vacationing parties – with British actor Rufus Sewell (A Knight’s Tale), Rush Hour’s Ken Leung and model Abbey Lee portraying some of the characters.

But it soon becomes clear that all is not what it seems, when strange events start occurring, and the group realises the mysterious beach is rapidly ageing them – potentially due to the minerals in the rocks that surround the area being a catalyst for this process. This leads to adults’ health deteriorating, and children speedily turning into teenagers then young adults.

And to make matters worse, when anyone tries to escape the enclosed sandy cove, they ‘black out’ – due to the sudden change in their bodies with their cells working overtime – in a scenario similar to a deep-sea diver returning to the surface too quickly.

With them unable to adjust fast enough to this molecular change – forcing them to be imprisoned in this nightmarish paradise – the adults start falling victim to illnesses, and desperation soon starts to drive some of the beach’s inhabitants to the brink of insanity.

And for the most part Old hits more than it misses – particularly in the early stages – before it runs out of steam, and fades a little into TV movie territory (it kind of has a Lost vibe, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Fortunately, the admirable ‘ideas’ behind the movie just about pull it through – and the final reveal is fairly adequate – but once again it’s another horror-tinged Shyamalan thriller that ends with a ‘thought provoking’ whimper, more than an exhilarating ‘bang’.

Which is frustratingly becoming the director’s Achilles heel, seemingly falling short when attempting to coherently turn his plotlines into consistently spectacular films over the entire piece – once again hinting at something masterful before fizzling out.

Sometimes you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks . . .

ESP Rating: 3/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin Mckenzie, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Aaron Pierre, Eliza Scanlen, Emun Elliott & Embeth Davidtz

Running Time: 1 Hr 48 Mins

Director: M Night Shyamalan

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