The Village

  • Directors: M Night Shyamalan
  • Producers: Sam Mercer, Scott Rudin, M Night Shyamalan
  • Writers: M Night Shyamalan
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt

The movie starts out at a funeral of a child in a small village. The death date on the tombstone establishes the date as 1897. As the story progresses, it is revealed the villagers live in fear of nameless creatures in the woods that surround the village. They have built a barrier of oil lanterns and watch towers that are constantly manned to keep watch for “Those We Don’t Speak Of”. It is explained that the villagers have a long-standing truce with the monsters; the villagers do not go into their woods, and the creatures do not enter their village. Even so, dead, skinned bodies of small animals are starting to appear around the village.

After the funeral, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) asks the village elders for permission to pass through the woods to get medical supplies from “the towns”. His request is denied and, later, he is admonished by his mother, Alice (Sigourney Weaver), for wanting to go to the towns, which the villagers describe as “wicked places where wicked people live”. It is revealed in that scene that the Elders seem to keep dark secrets of their own in the form of black boxes, the contents of which they keep hidden from their own offspring. After Lucius makes a short venture into the woods, the creatures leave warnings around the village in the form of splashes of red paint (referred by the villagers only as “the bad color”) on all the villagers’ doors.

It is revealed that the village was actually founded some time in the late 1970s, when Edward Walker, professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania, approached other people he met at a grief counseling clinic after his father had been murdered. He asked them if they wished to join him in “an idea” he had. From this apparently grew “the village”, a secluded town in the middle of a wildlife preserve purchased with Edward’s family fortune, a place where they would be protected from any aspect of the outside world (the head ranger named “Jay” in the ranger station, played by Shyamalan seen reflected in a glass door, fills in several plot points; the Walker estate pays to maintain the ranger corps, the rangers make sure no one goes into the wildlife preserve to “disturb the animal(s)”, the Walker estate “paid off” the government to keep the entire wildlife preserve a “no-fly zone”). Once the village was created, it appears the original “Elders” rolled the clock back to the late 19th century to what they thought was a simpler, more peaceful time.

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