M. Night Shyamalan, the writer and director of The Sixth Sense (1999) a movie with such brilliance in its making, the young director at the time received his fame and glory because of how well executed he wrote that film and that unforgettable, awe breathtaking twist at the very end that had every one on the edge of their seats. Nothing seemed to have taken the ranks from being Shyamalan’s number one movie to date, however, until, The Village was released in 2004, in my opinion. A psychological horror film, which was beautifully acted, well directed, and scary with a great plot and twists, and one of Shyamalan’s most under appreciative films. You would know when you were watching a M. Night Shyamalan movie, his films all had a certain type of mysterious essence that made them stand out from any other suspenseful film.
We all have our doubts and expectations of the type of films we liked and paid our money for based off the trailers and previews. M. Night Shyamalan is known for his intricate plots, mind blowing twists, and thrillingly suspenseful styles and The Village fitted perfectly into his style, however, I believed this film was not advertised correctly, due to the representation Shyamalan had as audiences believed this film was a thrill-ride of Gothic horror, like the scariest film yet to be filmed, so previews have claimed – and viewers were running toward nearest movie theaters to catch yet another Shyamalan twist, instead of investing their emotions in the characters, story and plot. The Village is a movie in which you must watch more than once to fully appreciate its true beauty and unique development.
The Village is a film about seeking truth and how such things could resurface when buried deep within people’s hearts. The village was located in Covington Woods; a 19th century village in Pennsylvania that was isolated from the rest of the world. The woods that surrounded the village were off limits to all the villagers because mysterious creatures lived there. Many years earlier, the town elders and the creatures reached an understanding that the villagers would not go into their woods, and the creatures would not enter into their village. A boundary was set up around the village, along with warnings on etiquette and colors to wear regarding keeping the creatures at rest.
The village of Covington came about as an idea by Edward Walker (William Hurt). After his father was murdered by a business partner, Walker joined a support group for others who had lost their loved ones to violence. Walker was a history professor at a local University, and had the idea to start a small isolated village, to insulate the members of the group from further harm or loss. Walker's father was very wealthy, and Edward had the village built deep in the interior of the Walker Wildlife Preserve that his family owned. A large wall surrounded the preserve, and precautions were made to keep airplanes from flying overhead as well, to keep up the illusion of the village being a rural and rustic place of the 19 hundreds.
Out of all the characters there were three who made this film as captivating with everything that it was worth. There was Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard), a blind strong willied girl, who acted out of love and courage, also the youngest daughter of Edward Walker, one of the elders of the village, there was Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), the shy, quiet boy who kept to himself and was brave in many ways and last, Noah Percy (Adrian Brody), the village idiot who knew no better, always started trouble and who fancied Ivy. The Village is about these people, these well-developed characters and their community living in fear, not of the monsters, of which they had been warned of, but the psychology of fear rather than a horrific portrayal of it. Much of the film concerned the relationships of these characters in the village, but the mystery of the creatures who lived inside the woods also dominated the plot, a plot that will create some emotion out of you one way or another, and I will not tell you anymore about the creatures who lived in the woods – oh wait, I didn’t. I guess you’re going to have to find out about them yourselves when you watch the film.
James Newton Howard, the composer of this films score deleivered the right type of music that created each scene perfectly. The soft cries of the violin that we heard throughout was heart thumbing and mind blowing. I never realized how powerful background music really was, until I saw this moive. There was one scene that stayed in my mind after leaving the movies, and that was when Lucius grabbed Ivy's hand before the creature could, he protected and watched over her the entire time and that scene had to be one of the best scenes in cinma history. It was beautifully done at the right moment, with the right type of music.
A friend of mine couldn’t have said it better when referring to this movie as a whole, “The Village is a character study of how a community and its individuals respond under pressure and fear. And while it has elements of horror, I'm not even sure I would describe it as a horror film.” And nor would I, there’s so much more to this film than that. This movie is stored inside my volt of favorite films due to its story and characters. “There are secrets in every corner of this village. Do you not feel it? Do you not see it?” That line was said by Lucius Hunt to his mother, and we felt and saw it clearly, well, for me it took three tries, but I finally understood this movie and its worth, and you would too if you gave it a chance.