Guest review by Jen Barraza
The thing about M. Night Shyamalan movies is that they are either brilliant or you've wasted precious hours of your life that you can never get back... there is no in-between with him. And for me, it was the latter for this go around.
We arrive at an island paradise with an 'ideal' family of four taking a dream vacation. The father, Guy (Gael García Bernal) and Prisca (Vicky Krieps), seem to be a happy couple but you then find out that this is a sort of the last hurrah for them. They are on one last vacation with their two children 11-year-old Maddox (Alexa Swinton later played by Thomasin McKenzie then Embeth Davidtz) and 6-year-old Trent (Nolan River later played by Alex Wolff then Emun Elliott) before they make their split official. As you can tell from the actor swaps, there is something fishy happening on the island. The secluded beach that they are told to explore ends up possessing a mysterious quality that ages everyone who finds it. Every half an hour, you get one year older. They end up being stuck on this beach with a myriad of characters including a rapper, a medical doctor and his wife, a daughter and mother (and her little dog too), and another couple who happen to be a nurse and therapist. All this matters as tensions rise. They band together then fall apart, sometimes literally, as they try to figure out what the heck is going on and try to escape their paradise turned prison.
Now we come to the expected M. Night twist... Part of the appeal of his movies is what he is going to do at the end to make you second guess everything that you just witnessed. Before the movie began we guessed island sacrifice, they are all dead already... aging algae... SPOILER ALERT: Our guesses were wrong though. I think our twists would have been a better payoff than what we got.
In the plus column, the cinematography was beautiful and the special effects were solid. The storyline just isn't his best. If you are an M. Night Shyamalan fan I'd wait until this is available on TV and if you're not then I'd watch one of his better ones like Split.
I give it 2 stars out of 5 for being pretty.