Old (2021) Review

RATING: 1.5/5

A normal vacation turns into absolute hell for hotel guests as they start to age rapidly.

Interesting premise on the surface, dumbfounded within.

The first act, I’ll say was, decent enough. The pace was nice at building the interesting premise. One got introduced to the characters and their personality types. The buildup to the beach, was, again nice. Honestly the premise and the way the trailer presented the movie made me intrigued enough to go and see it. But, with M. Night attached to it, I was wary. To which, it definitely showed.

For starters, the dialogue in this was clunky and unrealistic. Especially the latter for the main son. How does the son know anything about mortgages? I mean M. Night making kids act like adults has been a special staple of his earlier work, but I thought after “The Visit,” I thought it was a turning point for him. I thought maybe M. Night was learning. But no, back to square one for the most part.

The dialogue also can be very numbing and painful to listen to. There were lots of exposition dumbs. One or two of which made me turn off my brain because it was going lightning round speed that I didn’t really care. I didn’t know what the characters were talking about. I don’t think the characters themselves knew what they were talking about. It makes my head hurt thinking about it.

Transitioning to the characters, they were not that interesting in the slightest. M. Night tried hard on attaching some kind of shtick to a particular character to make them stand out. But it doesn’t help as it came off as off-putting and silly. There was a doctor who randomly was thinking about some Jack Nicholson movie. What? There was a character whose rapper name was (drum roll)…”Mid-Sized Sedan.” What?! Really?! Also, going back to the main son, how…exactly…does the kid…a six-year-old…know about sex? Creepy. There was a woman with some bone problem which led to her limbs and body being twisted and tangled. I wasn’t laughing, I was chuckling. But I can surely see how one can view that as being funny as opposed to being horrifying.

Also, does the substances the hotel gave the guests increase intelligence? How do the main children act and talk like adults as they were aging? Though I guess I shouldn’t continue in putting reasoning into this. I mean once one of the children started talking mortgages, logic was out of the window.

Cinematography can be pretty good with its tracking shots, wide shots, and establishing shots. But those extreme close-ups were too much. Also, the framing of many shots was awkward. Scenes featured characters that should have been on-screen or they were but one only saw bits of their body.

Pacing was all over. While the dialogue would sometimes go fast, situations moved quite slow. I understand the context of the characters not getting off the beach, but still, interesting characters and more realistic dialogue are a must first. I don’t want to see uninteresting characters spouting disjointed dialogue, walking back and forth on a beach for two hours discussing what to do. It wasn’t two hours, but it felt longer.

The film went on for ten minutes too long. Firstly, the first twist was not that surprising, as one could mostly figure it out right from the start. Honestly if the movie were to end a little bit after that first twist, it actually would have been fine. But the film went on longer than it should have with its second twist and happier ending.

M. Night’s weakest film in quite some time. There could have been some promise with the interesting premise. But M. Night’s special tropes brought it down considerably. It’s not funny bad like the “The Happening.” There were moments sure, but it was more or less, plain bad. I read M. Night made a two-picture deal with Universal, I’m hoping his next thriller is better directed. But with M. Night, it’s always hard to tell.

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Run (2020) Review

RATING: 4/5

[SPOILERS]

A wheelchair-bound teen suffering from numerous medical conditions, gets a sense of unease for how her mother treats her.

“Searching” director Aneesh Chaganty continues greatly with his thriller talents.

Performances in the film were really good.

Actress Sarah Paulson delivered in portraying a creepy and threatening mother (Diane). Who would do anything to keep her daughter safe and protected under her.

Actress Kiera Allen, who played the daughter (Chloe), was an interesting character. In the film, her character was portrayed as being smart and it truly showed. She was pretty resourceful in trying to escape her mother. Especially with the scene with her crawling on the roof while having her tools. The fact that she was suffering from all sorts of illnesses and disabilities, added layers in making one care for her so much. One slip-up, fall, or a shortness of breath, would have meant doom for her.

Just like with the movie “Searching,” Chaganty did very well at keeping one invested in the characters and story being shown. The snowball effect was handled nice in showcasing bits of information from Chloe trying to unravel the truth. Pieces were effectively shown while not fully revealed until the basement scene before the climax.

Suspense was definitely present in a number of scenes. One would be edge on what the mother would do with her daughter being extra sneaky. In particular in one scene where the mother was sitting still at the kitchen table as she watched her daughter on the computer. That moment was very creepy.

Speaking of the computer, there was a nice little Easter egg regarding the movie “Searching.” With the Microsoft logo appearing while the computer turned on.

Once the truth bomb of Diane not being the biological parent of Chloe hit, one felt a bit of sorrow and understood where the mother was coming from. Though that didn’t phase Chloe for one bit, from there the momentum built until the end.

The one film that this shared the most in common with was “Misery.” The comparisons were strong. But that wasn’t a bad thing. “Run” played things differently with the wheelchair-bound protagonist and again, there were additional layers to her that made one fear for her even more I think.

As far as the PG-13 rating, I don’t think it was too much of a fault. This was a good example of a thriller with that rating that worked. But there were moments where it unfortunately showed. There were a couple times where the dialogue or acting did get cheesy. It broke some of the tension for me. The best example where I rolled my eyes was when Chloe cussed and the scene cut before she finished. That kind of thing I’ve seen in some movies and it’s not warranted. Only in trailers and even there sometimes it’s not warranted.

I thought the number of diseases Chloe had seemed much. I say only two of the ailments were notably used while the rest were hardly utilized, except in the opening montage.

After Chloe finds out that Diane was not her mother, she for some reason still calls her mom. I feel at that point she shouldn’t be calling her that. Now in the revenge motive in the end scene was fine and it worked. But earlier I felt that she should not be saying that word.

Chaganty showcases for his second feature film, that he can direct and write really good thrillers. The performances were great from the two main leads and tension and suspense were effective at keeping one locked on the screen. Highly recommend it.

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