A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

A family discovers that they are rapidly aging on a secluded beach in . Guy () and Prisca () have traveled to the isolated Anamika Resort with their young children Maddox and Trent. After being impressed by the resort's hospitality, the family is recommended that they visit a nearby isolated beach by the resort's manager (Gustaf Hammarsten), which they decide to travel to accompanied by cantankerous doctor Charles () and his wife Chrystal (), mother Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant) and daughter Kara, as well as Jarin () and his wife Patricia (). Things soon turn awry when a woman's dead body is discovered on the beach. Despite initially believing foul play to be responsible, when the kids suddenly appear looking older, it becomes apparent that something on this beach is causing everyone to age rapidly.

Old is a film written for the screen and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle” by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. The film stars Gael García Bernal (Y Tu Mamá También) and Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) as a troubled couple on the verge of separating, who are having one last family vacation with their children Maddox and Trent, who are played by multiple actors over the course of the film, but most prominently by (Jojo Rabbit) and (Hereditary). The family finds themselves trapped on an isolated beach that is somehow causing everyone on it to age at a rate of 1 year every half hour. To make matters worse, there is some sort of field surrounding the beach that results in anyone who tries to leave passing out. With time rapidly running out, the family had to find a way to get off the beach before they literally live and die an entire lifetime in a single day.

After receiving an arguably mixed reception for his Unbreakable sequel Glass, M. Night Shyamalan goes back to basics somewhat with Old, which marks the second time he was written and directed a film based on previously written material, following 2010's The Last Airbender. Thankfully, I would have to say that Old is probably a better adaptation than that previous film, despite the fact that I'm not all too familiar with the original “Sandcastle” graphic novel. That said, the premise of Old is something that we can all relate with, as it visualizes the fact that life is too short and we don't have that much time on this mortal coil.

Old utilizes the rapid advancement of time in various clever and freaky ways, ranging from a cringe-inducing emergency operation to probably one of the most rapid pregnancies seen in the film. The film also features a human threat, which leads towards a third-act set piece that very briefly turns Old into a more overt horror film. However, ultimately it can be surmised that Old is more a film about a family on the verge of coming apart, ending up coming together in light of this crisis. And yes, despite being an adaptation, Old wouldn't be an M. Night Shyamalan film without a final twist.

Altogether, Old is a thriller that is worth checking out.

Old opens on Friday, July 23, 2021

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.