Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Old: The New 2021 Thriller Film

This past summer, various films hit the theaters, many of which fell under the genre of horror and thrillers. One of these movies, in particular, titled “Old”, was released in theaters the last week of July. The film, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, was available to watch in theaters for two months after its release and is now available on multiple streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, and Vudu. Those who weren’t able to catch the movie in theaters can now stream the film from home just in time for the fall season when horror films and thrillers are most popular.

The movie introduces the audience to a family who is on a tropical vacation together visiting a beautiful island resort. This island, though beautiful, has a dark side to it that the family is initially unaware of. A sudden turn of events then leads the family to a secluded section of the island where they all begin to age rapidly, reducing their entire life spans into a single day despite only being there for a couple of hours. The family is unable to leave the beach and other characters that are introduced into the plot also face the same dilemma.

This film is very unorthodox in comparison to other films that have been released this year due to its eccentric script-writing. There are several interesting symbols and hidden messages placed within the plot which further sets it apart from other thrillers that are in theaters right now. “Old” also encourages viewers to think deeper about why the rapid change in age is happening to each character and what makes the secluded beach section so mysterious in the first place.

The cinematography, captured by Michael Gioulakis, sets the tone for the film. The film begins with bright colors and draws the audience into the beauty of the island with the vast blue ocean and resort palm trees. This vibrant capture of the island transitions to an aspect of the island that is much more sinister, with dark cave alleyways and a forest that never leads anyone back where they came from. The repetition of the camera panning out across the island also gives the audience an entire view of the beach. This further emphasizes the dilemma that each character is facing and the fear that begins to set in once they realize they cannot leave the island.

The soundtrack also plays a big part in the thriller aspect of this film as well. At the beginning of the movie, the music and sound effects let the audience know that everything is peaceful; that the family visiting this tropical island are excited and happy to be on vacation. It is later in the film when the conflict arises; the music and sound effects gradually become more daunting, building a sense of anxiety and paranoia as scenes take place and the film progresses.

The film “Old” is definitely a thriller. There is a lot to unpack after watching it for the first time. It’s an unconventional plot, dynamic characters, and concealed symbolism really add to the overall uniqueness, making it a thought-provoking experience for viewers.



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