Hey, horror fans! Welcome to another edition of Underrated Horror Movie of the Month. Every month, on the second and fourth Fridays, I come here to discuss a horror film that I feel is underrated and underloved. No subgenre, corner of the Earth or decade is left unchecked in the search for the most underrated movies. In this edition, I present the 2004 M. Night Shyamalan film The Village. Stick around to find out why I think this one deserves more love.
About The Village
This movie tells the tale of an isolated 19th-century village. The residents fear the things that live in the surrounding woods. This fear is the cause of stringent rules, one of which prohibits people from being outside after dark. The monsters pose a significant threat to the townspeople, who live in constant terror.
As Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) breaks some rules for love, as people sometimes do, a terrible truth is revealed. A truth that will change Ivy’s life forever. Regardless, she is determined to learn more, no matter the cost.
The Village stars Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrian Brody, Brendan Gleeson, Cherry Jones, Celia Weston, Judy Greer and others. M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed the film. The runtime is one hour and 49 minutes.
This movie has a 43 percent Tomatometer Score and a 57 percent Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. It also has a 6.6/10 on IMDb.
As always, I dove through copious amounts of online reviews to determine why some viewers do not like the movie. I sorted through comments on not enjoying anything by Shyamalan since The Sixth Sense, some that did not give a definitive reason, and more denoted the acting. However, two reasons kept resurfacing. Many viewers seem to have found the movie dull and unrealistic. Here are my thoughts on this reasoning.
What is or is not dull varies from person to person. The first time I watched this movie, I stayed on the edge of my seat the entire time. Plus, that twist ending? Come on. Shyamalan is known for his crazy twist endings, and this one falls right into line. Admittedly, it doesn’t hold up once you know what’s coming, so rewatches are not as enjoyable. Regardless, the first viewing gave me that creepy feeling of wondering what exactly was going to happen.
As for unrealistic, here is the way I look at it. Some horror movies are meant to reflect things that COULD happen, but others are not. Take most of the infamous slashers, for example. All but one are immortal. With every Shyamalan movie I have seen, I did not get the impression that it was intended to be super realistic. In most cases, it is a scenario that has the potential to be based on actual events but is largely what all fiction movies are: a story.
The Village boasts an incredible cast. There are some characters I wish they had explored more, but overall the acting is top-notch. Unfortunately, it is impossible to truly explore every character and allow for excellent development of each within the space of an average-length film. To do that would require many hours on a single story.
In terms of my general opinion, if you enjoy movies by Shyamalan, you will likely have fun watching this one, but if you are not a fan of his, it will be hit or miss. If you have not seen it yet, it is streaming on Peacock. Give it a try and then come back here and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
If you have seen it, I want to know, did you like it? If not, why? Hit up the comments! Until next time, horror fans, stay spooky and watch more horror movies. Before you go, check out the trailer for The Village below.
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