This is the creepy masterpiece by M. Night Shyamalan. It is a creepy film with an all right plot but don't expect a Sixth Sense type of hit from this film. It does have some awesome color symbolism, a good thought process behind it, and some quite interesting camera work.
There is this Amish-like village in the middle of the woods. They don't seem as strict as the typical religious based society. But they do seem to have a good moral value society going on. They have the communal child watching, and meals. Your typical old-fashioned society--or is it? The twist is that there is something in the woods. Whatever it is warrants torches in the night and a guard tower. "They Who Shall Not Be Named” never come into the village as long as the people of the village stay in the village.
We are systematically introduced to our players in the story. The village "elder" Edward Walker (William Hurt), Another village "elder" Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver), her son Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Walker's daughter, Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard). Well Lucius wants to leave the village and go "to the towns." His best friend died of some disease and he wants to go get "medicines” so it won't happen to anyone else. The village elders (a group of the older generation who govern the town) systematically turn him down again and again. Ivy's sister gets married--so then Ivy can begin to think of suitors, except for one thing--she is blind. Although, some people have a color she can see. Lucius is one of those people. Ivy and Lucius have designs to get married themselves. Only the monsters have started entering the village for no reason. The Elders cannot figure out the reasons for this to happen.
And then tragedy strikes, Lucius is knifed by Noah Percy (Adrien Brody) who is a mentally ill young man that Ivy has been taking care of over the years. Then Ivy gets the idea to go to "the towns" to get medicines that will save Lucius's life for he has an infection. Will she be able to get through the forest without becoming a snack for the monsters? To find that out you will have to see the film.
I like the used of color in this film--there is some great symbolism going on in this film. I also like the comment the symbolism makes about society. It’s very smart in that way. There is also some very interesting camera work going on in this film. They use some interesting camera angles and film styles. It was very nice.
The acting was well done. William Hurt is good as the elder Walker who is just trying to do the right thing for his family and for the village. He makes some impassioned speeches in the movie, and well as some smart decisions--I think. Alice Hunt is more a bit player, Sigourney Weaver does a fine job, but this role in no way uses her full potential. Joaquin Phoenix plays Lucius, the "thinking rebel” he will follow the rules to a point until it conflicts with his heart. Then he will find a way to bend them. He does this role well. Adrien Brody is excellent as Noah. But the star of this show is Bryce Dallas Howard as Ivy the blind daughter of Walker. She is willing to walk through the horror of the forest perhaps costing her, her life to save Lucius. She is a strong female character who does not lie down and let some guy handle it--she toughs it out. Those kind of female characters are hard to find. Bryce does a fantastic job.
Overall this is a good movie. If you enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan's other films then you will enjoy this one too, or if you like a creepy, but not bloody film--then give this one a try.