THE VILLAGE. (2004) WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN. MUSIC BY JAMES NEWTON HOWARD AND HILARY HAHN (VIOLINIST). CINEMATOGRAPHY BY ROGER DEAKINS.
STARRING JOAQUIN PHOENIX, BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD, WILLIAM HURT, BRENDAN GLEESON, ADRIEN BRODY AND M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I love this film, though that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its little niggles. I always get really angry at the scam (or possibly scamola) being pulled by the villagers, those fuppin’ baxterds. They make my blood boil.
It’s just that I have great memories of watching the film when it came on the TV some two or three years after its cinematic release. Yeah, that’s how slowly things moved back then, haha.
Nowadays, of course, a film is out on DVD by the time you leave the cinema. You can probably buy it straightaway from the in-house shop in the lobby…! A slight exaggeration, maybe, but you know what I mean.
Anyway, as I said, I loved the film when I saw it first and I still do. Back in the mid-‘Noughties, however, I wasn’t the big brave horror film reviewer I am today. In fact, I was quite cowardly and I had a terrible fear of what I called ‘scary faces.’
Therefore, whenever ‘the creatures’ appeared, I’d hide behind the TV Guide until you could actually read the listing for the weekend off my forehead.
I missed half the plot this way, of course. I just had these impressions of mysterious and threatening creatures garbed in bright red cloaks and villagers in yucky mustard-coloured ones. It’s a very red film anyway. You’ll almost certainly take that impression away with you.
The film is gorgeous to look at, there’s no doubt about that. Beautiful woodland scenery everywhere, and of course the colour red in abundance. I was terrified of it those few times I saw it years ago. My imagination probably filled in the gaps I’d missed out on and made things a million times worse, haha. Sometimes what we don’t see is scarier…
Watching the film again recently for the first time since the late ‘Noughties, I wasn’t hiding behind anything other than a totally transparent wine glass. I finally understand the plot. Of course, I can’t tell you too much about it because it’s one of those films that’s famous for having a big twist at the end.
I love films like that, although I’m personally famous for having to have the twists patiently and laboriously explained to me by the person next to me…!
Anyway, here’s the deal. It’s the nineteenth century and a bunch of olde-timey weirdos are all living as a close-knit community in a tiny rural village called Covington. It’s bounded on all sides by these strange spooky woods in which the town elders are adamant that evil ‘creatures’ dwell.
The young ‘uns of the titular village don’t need much persuading not to go in the woods. Well, if there are monsters there…! Any nearby towns are a no-go zone also. The town elders, including Sigourney Weaver, our own Brendan Gleeson and a beardy, virtually unrecognisable William Hurt, are all staunchly united in their views that such places are as evil as the creatures that stalk the woods.
The creatures, apparently, will leave the townspeople alone if the townspeople do likewise. Now, however, the ‘signs’ (See what I did there? Another terrific film from M. Night Shamomalon, as Homer Simpson from THE SIMPSONS calls him!) are all pointing to the town’s borders having been breached by the creatures.
If this is true and the creatures really are on the rampage, then when a tragic incident occurs and medicine from ‘the towns’ is needed for one of the little community’s most valued members, the journey through the woods will be all the more perilous for the man- or woman- who must undertake it…
Joaquin Phoenix, who also starred in SIGNS along with Mel Gibson, says remarkably little in his role as Lucius Hunt, the village heart-throb. Just as well he’s meant to be the strong silent type…!
My biggest surprise while re-watching this movie recently was discovering that Bryce Dallas Howard plays the lead female role of Ivy Elizabeth Walker, Lucius’s blind sweetheart/betrothed.
Back in the mid-‘Noughties, I wouldn’t have known BDH from a hole in the ground. This time round, of course, I recognised her instantly as the female lead from one of 2015’s highest-grossing blockbuster movies, namely, JURASSIC WORLD, in which she played the annoying kids’ Aunty Claire and got to snuggle up to the seriously hot Chris Pratt, otherwise known as ‘The ‘Raptor Whisperer.’ The lucky cow.
BDH is pretty good in THE VILLAGE as the blind girl who talks way, way too much. I wish Ivy and Lucius the best of luck together. It’s a match made in Heaven. He hardly says a word, she never bloody shuts up. Yeah, good luck with that…!
The twist is actually pretty incredible. Even if you’ve seen it before, it’s still worth another look. Certainly for first-time viewers of the film, it’ll knock your socks off, if you’re wearing any. Me, I’m a bit of a hippy chick. Bare feet only in the house…!
Adrien Brody as the mentally differently-abled Noah Percy is probably the most stand-out character. Nowadays, he would probably be termed ‘autistic’ and people would know how to look after him a bit better, maybe, or at least supervise him a bit more diligently.
He commits a dreadful act of violence which he possibly doesn’t even know is a bad thing to do. It’s a sad state of affairs. Brilliant film, though. You should definitely watch it.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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