Based on the general inconsistency of his output for the majority of the last two decades, any new project from M. Night Shyamalan is typically greeted with a mixture of excitement, intrigue and more than a little skepticism, because you never know which version of the filmmaker you’re going to get.
Is it going to be the original, inventive and singular voice behind The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Split? Or the self-indulgent, excessive and often unrelentingly dull mind responsible for Lady in the Water, The Happening and After Earth? Based on nothing but the footage we’ve seen so far, next month’s upcoming psychological chiller Old is looking promising, and hopefully it winds up falling into the former camp.
Inspired by the graphic novel Sandcastle, the existential time-bender follows a disparate group of characters trapped on a secluded beach, where a mysterious phenomenon causes them to age rapidly every thirty minutes, forcing them into a desperate battle against the clock to figure out what’s happening to them, and how they’re supposed to stop it.
It’s a hell of a hook, so it might be a surprise to discover that Old has been officially rated by the MPAA and gotten itself slapped with a PG-13, opening it up to finding a much wider audience when it hits theaters on July 23rd. As per the review board, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest features “strong violence, disturbing images, suggestive content, partial nudity and brief strong language,” so it certainly sounds as though it’ll be pushing that PG-13 to its absolute limit. Of course, not all effective horror needs to be R-rated to thrive, but let’s just hope that the former wunderkind is firing on all cylinders.