Chris Stuckmann: The Village

Chris Stuckmann reviews The Village

About ChrisStuckmann

Quick, funny reviews of movies and games, new and old.


  1. I gotta admit. This was one of the better M. Night movies.

  2. The only Shamalyan movies that I’ve seen are Signs and the Last Airbender. I might want to see this one… maybe. I don’t even remember seeing any trailers for this movie. Then again, I think that I was only like 12 or so when this movie came out so yeah.

    • So you basically see only crap from him? You definitely need see Six Sense, Unbreakable and even this one to know that there was time when he didn’t suck..

    • Oh you should definitely check out the sixth sense and unbreakable. Those are great films, still. I thought this movie was ok when it came out, I really like the atmosphere, the creature design and how it looked (this was before I became a huge Roger Deakins fan, cause I was also just a teenager). And in a rational way I liked the twist but as Chris said, it just didn’t work well. It didn’t have that much of an impact.

  3. Your reaction on the Village is what I had on Signs.

    • Yeh, I’m also confused about that statement? When I see Signs, I simply couldn’t believe that it was this same creator as that who made Six Sense and Unbreakable. For some time I though that they referee publisher an trick my on trailer (I didn’t know about Shamalyan yet). Anyway Village wasn’t bad and I still see it as good Shamalyan movie.. last good, but still decent one.

  4. See the biggest problem for me is that it just doesn’t make sense for them to pretend that it’s 1890-something. I get the whole notion of a group removing itself from society and creating elaborate lies to keep their children from wandering off and discovering the real world. But why tell the kids it’s 1890 and dress like it’s 1890 and speak in Ye Olde English like (you think) they did back in 1890? Why is any of this necessary to keep their children in the dark? Answer: It’s not. The children don’t need the Ye Olde English to be fooled. The only purpose it serves is to fool US for the sake of fooling us. And… that’s cheating.

    • You are aware of Amish society? Those people for religious reason withdrew from civilization and we have similar case here. Bunch of rich douches with personal crisis move to own “paradise” and simply not care about own kids. They’re lie to them simply because kids would bring “accursed” civilization with them, because such is nature of youngsters and they don’t want that there. Anyway, I see that only as slightly stretched.

      • See it as extreme nostalgia. Putting yourself in older and ‘simpler’ times. Also, it’s way easier to stay and keep everyone isolated like that. Keep everyone busy by working hard for the basic necessities and keep them afraid because you don’t have the means to fight against them or contact beyond the forest. They have to be self sufficient and low tech or else they wouldn’t be able to keep up the illusion. How else are you going to explain away the more advanced technology?

      • Snorgatch Pandalume

        Actually, it’s very stretched. I discussed this movie with a lawyer friend of mine, because I questioned whether it would be legally possible to do what these people have done, i.e., essentially holding their own children prisoner. He said the problem isn’t that, since the kids aren’t technically being held against their will. They’ve been brainwashed by the lies their parents have told them, yes, but that’s not illegal. What IS illegal is withholding medicine from them, such as vaccinations, which all children are legally required to have. So no, the society depicted in this movie isn’t legally feasible. The only way it could be done would be for the parents to let health care workers enter the community to administer vaccinations to their children, which of course would destroy the illusion they’re trying to create.

        • Yes, it is stretched but not impossible. Also those people aren’t some pathologic families but rich influential dudes (they were capable of stop air movement above national park). They make cover for what they did and even if what they did was illegal they would be need caught first and park workers basically work for them. Also if kids were born inside society they could be unregistered and so no one would search them.

        • I’m no lawyer, but don’t people refuse vaccinations and even life-saving treatment for their children in the name of religion (Christian Scientists come to mind) all the time?

          heck, many, many people argue against vacs for all kinds of health-danger reasons too, are they forced to allow the administration, or do they win? I’m gonna look this up now.

      • The Amish have a tradtion of allowing kids to go see the wider world at like, 16 I think? Granted, if you stay gone you’re gone for good, so it seems like most people would probably come back, but yeah.

      • Dude, the issue you addressed is the one I said I already got. And yes, I’m aware of Amish society (at least as aware as one can be having only seen it depicted in movies and TV shows). The point was, why bother with the fake year and the fake old-world language? Kids don’t have an automatic knowledge of history and what people were supposed to look and sound like in certain time periods. The could’ve told them it was 2006 (or whatever) and it would’ve meant nothing to them. They could’ve told them it was the year 500 or the year 37644, and it would all just be meaningless numbers to the kids.

        And yes, maybe they just agreed on pretending it was that year because it was about the level of technology they were looking for and they wanted to keep ONE aspect of this lifetime ruse simple for themselves. But there is absolutely no good reason for a group of adults to all adopt this way of speech half way through their lives. They could’ve just spoken normally and not mentioned anything about world around them. They didn’t NEED to spend the rest of their lives in character to live simple and hide the world from the kids. They needed to spend the movie in character to fool us.

  5. Unfortunately, if he’d executed the twist in a more logical manner there would be no way he could have avoided it being a complete rip off of Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The modern day twist works in that one because there are details that once the twist is revealed make more sense not less and the twist incorporate elements such as why there would be no planes or intruders to confuse the villagers into the integral concept.

    That being said… I probably should go back and watch this now that I am not a bitter 16 year old who wanted a monster movie by a director I liked instead of a bad adaptation of a novel by my favorite author.

  6. Excellent review!

    I’m the only person I know in real life who saw this movie for the first time and was able to accept it for what it was right away. I don’t agree with the misleading trailer as a marketing ploy but it didn’t detract my experience.

    I was hooked very early in this film and loved the cinematography, visuals and atmosphere. More importantly I fell in love with Bryce Dallas Howard’s performance and character. To this day it’s my personal favorite female performance in all of cinema (although not perfect as Chris points out).

    I really like The Village and find myself going back to watch the movie every 3 years or so. It’s my favorite Shyamalan film overall because of the characters and look of the movie make it a more enjoyable film to return to then the others.

    As much as I loved The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable on first viewing I found the pacing of those movies pretty hard to tolerate on second viewing. Granted I was looking at those movies in a different light the second time which enhanced the experience but they just don’t hook me and my mind begins to drift.

  7. I agree with Stuckmann on this movie. It’s actually well made.

    It was the first movie from M Night that I ever saw, and I had not been exposed to it at all when I saw it.

    All I thought was that it was a really creepy drama that ended with a kind of disappointing twist at the end.

    I still like it best out of all of M Night’s movies.

  8. Oh no you di’in’t review this movie.

  9. I hate the twist in this movie. It ruins the rather nice build up to what could have been an excellent ending. I wanted to see a monster, damnit!

  10. I enjoyed this movie, but I enjoy history and period dramas. Someone coming in expecting straight horror would likely be disappointed.

  11. I’ve only seen parts of this movie. One of the parts that I apparently missed was William Hurt telling Bryce Dallas Howard that the monsters are fake, so up until this review I didn’t understand all the hate people throw at The Village.

    I got the (monster) reveal when the elders were looking at where they keep the monster costume and some old photos. (an episode of Robot Chicken spoiled the modern times twist)

    So… Lucky me?

  12. I like the film, but I can see a lot of its problems none the less. The dialog at some parts is laughably bad and the actors do their best to try and work around it, but at times the only way to deliver M. Night dialog is to fall into an emotionless monotone–which increasingly becomes more of a problem with more of the films he makes. The film also doesn’t really end so much as it runs out of steam and driving force at a certain point so that it simply stops without reaching a well-crafted conclusion.

    Having said all that, as a film which meditates on themes of innocence, hope, despair, escapism, etc. and examines the American Mythos of “leaving the corrupt Old World” to create a “new and more perfect society” by “lighting out for the wilderness” in the New World is nuanced and a great example of examining it in a neutral way the story of many of the groups which came to found the US. As a story of faith and innocence it works tremendously well and should be the primary lens through which this story is viewed IMO. Its cinematography is gorgeous, its soundtrack–well obviously quite lovely, and the award winning actors give outstanding performances when the awkward dialog doesn’t get in the way (usually on the level of visual acting does this movie work far better than it does on an aural level–in fact the visual acting at times can make you forget the clunky dialogue).

    On the whole it’s a better film than people give it credit for, but it still has its problems. That’s been my opinion on the film since I saw it and will remain my opinion.

  13. Going in, I thought that the creatures could be humans in disguise. I didn’t think, however, that the villager elders themselves would be in on it.

    Also, when it was revealed the creatures are fakes, I wondered, what if there are actual supernatural creatures in the woods? Maybe they didn’t exist before, but thanks to the belief of the villagers, they’ve now become real? How will the Elders deal with the suddenly real threat?

    The whole set in modern days made me think that these Elders were trying to do the same thing as the Ba’ku from Star Trek Insurrection. And BOY DO I HAVE ISSUES WITH THEM!

  14. I agree with everything you said really. I actually liked the movie when it came out, and have re-watched it a few times. The thing that always really bothered me is that, there’s all this hammered in exposition to smooth out the twist, and that kinda works — but the subtle foreshadowing and hinting, the entire set-up always feels like the real -twist- should have been that one of the monsters was real.

    Honestly, most of what made the Happening (apart from its lead) was in this movie, just not as painfully present, and with better everything around it. The Village isn’t the best movie ever, but it isn’t even in the running for the worst either. It’s fine, and a helluva lot better than many other MKS movies. It was just. . .disappointing, maybe its biggest problem isn’t what it is, but rather what it is not.

    I felt the same about Lady in the Water and the Last Mimsy actually.

    Unbreakble and The Sixth Sense were fantastic movies tho, and the Others was pretty solid too. (wait, was that one him? feels like it was)

  15. The biggest problem I had with The Village, like all of Sham-a-yawn’s films, is that the plot makes little to no sense.

    In The Sixth Sense, I’m supposed to believe that a guy has gone for a long time without noticing that no one can see or hear him. Okay. In Unbreakable, suspension of disbelief really works, I honestly had no problem suspending disbelief with Unbreakable.

    With The Village, I’m supposed to believe that these people still think it’s a good idea to have this Quaker/Amish style community even though it’s been proven that they can’t get rid of the violent nature of people. It would work if that was the point of it all, but Sham-a-yawn didn’t seem to care about that plot hole.

    And, like most of his movies, the acting was really wooden. Bryce Dallas Howard and Joaquin Phoenix were okay, but Adrien Brody’s giggling, Renfield-esque psycho was laughable and I remember one of Sigourney Weaver’s lines being so flatly delivered that it made me laugh.

    For me, Unbreakable is the only truly good Sham-a-yawn film. All of the others are mediocre at best and at their worst… ugh…

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