Released in 2021, M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Old‘ explores the horror of rapid aging on a secluded beach. Despite its intriguing premise, ‘Old’ has been widely criticized for its execution, particularly in terms of writing, direction, and acting. With this review, we’ll give you various elements that make ‘Old’ Shyamalan’s worst movie.
There Are Many Plot Holes
The film’s concept, while initially promising, suffers from poor execution.
The plot revolves around the rapid aging phenomenon on a secluded beach, which, while intriguing, falls short in terms of logical and coherent storytelling. Numerous plot holes and unanswered questions plague the narrative, including inconsistencies in the story’s internal logic and the handling of the aging concept.
For instance, the film struggles to maintain consistency with its own rules regarding the aging process, leading to confusion and disbelief. Wounds heal instantly, but other bodily functions work at regular speed. Issues like dental health and other aspects of aging are overlooked or inconsistently portrayed. Besides, characters do not age consistently or experience different rates of aging.
‘Old’ suggests that hair and nails don’t grow due to being ‘dead cells,’ yet characters show signs of beard growth and other bodily changes. Dead bodies decompose at a higher rate — even though they can also be considered ‘dead cells.’
The medical experiment to test drug efficacy using accelerated aging is illogical, especially considering the small sample size and extreme conditions. Some characters, such as the old lady and the dog, do not fit the supposed purpose of the medical experiments. Their presence on the beach lacks a clear rationale.
Medical procedures depicted in the film, including surgery on the beach, are portrayed in ways that defy logical medical practice. Why didn’t Prisca get sepsis even though many characters put their hands in the incision without sterilizing them? Why did she faint because of a tumor and come back to consciousness after its removal?
A baby dies instantly from lack of attention, and the children feel the need to eat lots of food, but none of the adults are seen eating or drinking.
Moreover, the film doesn’t consistently apply its own rules regarding the consequences of trying to leave the beach, which results in confusion about why certain escape methods might work or fail. After all, why didn’t they try Jarin’s escape plan in the first place?
Another plot hole is that the film fails to convincingly explain how the resort operates without attracting suspicion or investigation despite numerous missing persons linked to it. How did they dispose of the bodies from previous experiments?
Lots of Bloopers You May Not Notice
When Trent grows older, at some point, one of the actors playing him doesn’t have the mole the character has. After the actor changes, the mole suddenly appears back where it was.
At various points during the film, Mid-Sized Sedan’s sneakers appear cleaner than ever, although the characters are all on a sandy beach. However, during one scene where he talks to Maddox, we see his sneakers covered in wet sand.
Another one concerning Sedan is that he says his nose had been bleeding all the time, yet we never see it, even when he was on the beach with the girl who had MS.
One of the things the movie tells us to prove its aging theory is that hair, nails, and dead body cells aren’t affected by the island. However, Trent grows a beard and body hair when he grows up.
Prisca argues that rust poisons the blood, but that’s not the case, as it can contain bacteria causing tetanus — still not a poison.
Another that might go unnoticed is that they always have a fire burning on the beach — yet there isn’t any material around them to fuel the fire.
Other Points of Criticism
One of the primary criticisms of ‘Old’ is its screenplay and dialogue. The dialogue seems unrealistic and, at some points, even laughable. The film’s attempt to portray natural conversations often comes off as forced and awkward, making it less immersive.
This issue is not limited to ‘Old’ but is a recurring aspect in Shyamalan’s works, where the dialogue often fails to be authentic.
Directorial choices in ‘Old’ are also questionable. The use of camera angles and cinematography, intended to enhance the film’s atmosphere, instead feels outdated. It can be compared to the 60s arthouse cinema, suggesting a mismatch between the film’s modern context and its visual style.
Another aspect where ‘Old’ falters is in its character development and acting performances. The characters often come across as lifeless and unengaging. The acting is ‘wooden,’ with the characters’ reactions and interactions failing to portray the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in convincingly.
‘Old’ also attempts to tackle a medical experiment angle. However, this aspect is not effectively explored, leading to a lack of clarity and believability. The film’s conclusion, which reveals the true nature of the beach, was too predictable and underwhelming, failing to deliver the impactful twist that Shyamalan’s films are known for.
You can watch the trailer for ‘Old’ below.