M. Night Shyamalan Returns with ‘Old’ in First Trailer
Written By: GN
After months of secrecy, esteemed director M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to 2019’s Glass finally gets its first trailer. Simply titled Old, the trailer delves into the heart-pounding mystery without giving away too much.
Produced by Universal Pictures, Old marks the first in the two-picture deal Shyamalan inked with the studio three years ago. It was initially slated for a February 26 release earlier this year, but was rescheduled due to the pandemic.
The official synopsis reveals that the film will revolve around “a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day.”
Sure enough, the beginning of the trailer is filled with idyllic shots of a sun-soaked tropical paradise and two families enjoying their vacation—that is, before things went very wrong. Mysterious events quickly begin to happen after they find a dead body on the beach. They start to age rapidly, with a daughter suddenly being pregnant (complete with a ballooning stomach), and the parents getting wrinkles on their skin. Racing against time, they fight to escape the beach—only to be trapped by unknown forces who appear as vague shadows in brief shots in the trailer.
The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal (Bad Education, Babel) as the father, Guy, and Vicky Krieps (The Phantom Thread, Das Boot) as his wife Prisca. Rufus Sewell, Nikki Amuka-Bird, and Ken Leung round out the cast of adults. Alex Wolff, Eliza Scanlen, and Thomasin Mckenzie also star as the aged-up versions of the kids. It’s interesting to note that these three’s notable roles have all been in the horror genre such as Wolff’s harrowing turn as a demon-possessed teenager in Hereditary, Scanlen’s deranged killer in limited series Sharp Objects, and Mckenzie’s highly-anticipated leading role in Last Night in Soho. With a powerhouse cast and the story being confined to one setting, it’s very likely that Shyamalan will explore some interesting character dynamics.
The Shyamalan treatment
Although Shyamalan wrote, directed, and produced the film, the screenplay is actually based on the 2013 graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. The story follows a similar premise of a group of people (although the names are different) rapidly aging as they find themselves trapped in a beach. Rendered in black-and-white realist style, the graphic novel veered away from the sinister and instead took on a more existentialist tone with its themes of human nature amid life and death and the futility of time.
With a very introspective and fast-paced source material, the challenge for Shyamalan is to convey onscreen the mystery and humanity that the novel tackled. The illustrious director previously knocked it out of the park with classics like The Sixth Sense and Split, but he is also known for controversial creative directions in his projects such as in the universally-panned The Happening and The Last Airbender. His fresh take on horror in 2015’s The Visit signaled a triumphant return-to-form for Shyamalan and this streak was continued by the crowd-pleaser Split.
Time for a twist
Based on Old’s trailer, it seems like Shyamalan is well on his way to forging yet another highlight in his repertoire. The film presents familiar elements from Shyamalan’s past, such as the psychological horror approach and the return of frequent collaborator Mike Gioulakis for cinematography, while also breaking new ground by choosing to film outside of Philadelphia for the first time and utilizing some new techniques.
But of course, the looming question will be whether or not Shyamalan’s trademark twist ending will also be in Old—and how the film will impact his legacy. With his distinct vision, solid cast, and intriguing story, Old is all set to thrill audiences once it drops on cinemas starting July 23.
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