By Chris Willman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:48 AM EDT
Credit: The Village: Frank Masi

Very slight spoiler alert: The big twist in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest is the revelation that…they’re not dead. (Think we’re kidding? We’ve already said too much.) A bigger twist was the cranky word of mouth and b.o. freefall that followed The Village‘s boffo first weekend. Those who don’t see the climactic switcheroo coming may legitimately feel hoodwinked. But if you do guess it, it’s easier to set aside arguable suspense aspects and appreciate the film’s true heart — as a sweet parable of young love, triumphal even in the face of really overprotective parents. It’s also a tribute to the luminescent openheartedness of Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron’s daughter), who, in her first major role, as the blind girl willing to brave monsters, looks as much like a reincarnated silent film siren as anyone alive. EXTRAS Those of us who think the pic is underrated don’t get much backup from Shyamalan, who skips doing a commentary. A moderately interesting featurette spotlights the rural production but neatly avoids discussing plot turns or popular backlashes. And a gushy oral diary by Howard suggests that maybe her open-heartedness should’ve stayed on screen.

The Village

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 107 minutes
  • M. Night Shyamalan