The Village

It's general etiquette to not pick on individuals involved with bad films any more than necessary. Generally speaking, no one sets out to make a bad film. That said, I have at times singled out individuals (usually directors) whose track record is so painfully bad, at times even mean spirited, that I can't help but point fingers. We know who I am talking about. I've singled out Michael Bay and John Woo on numerous occasions.

And then there's M. Night Shyamalan. Frankly, if there were one director to give Bay a running for biggest ego on the planet, it would be Shyamalan. Of course, that was before his two successive bombs THE VILLAGE and LADY IN THE WATER. The latter certainly sunk his star power to the depths of, oh let's go for the reference, a swimming pool, but THE VILLAGE was the first clear signal of the trouble to come.

Writing about a Shyamalan film is often tricky because his schtick is to have twists at the ends of all his films. But to hell with niceties. Here's the premise of the THE VILLAGE: a bunch of hippie American Studies professors decide that modern life is just too painful for them to deal with so they pay the government lots of money to let them live in the middle of the woods in Pennsylvania and pretend that they're in the 18th century. As such, they run around in 18th century garb and talk like complete idiots. You've never heard "shall" so many times in your life.

They've also created a myth that there are evil monsters surrounding the village who will attack anyone who crosses the border. Thus they keep all their children trapped in a 19th century world. Seems a bit prickish to me. In short, it's tough to make a film about how fear is used to control people when the film itself is never particularly scary.

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