The Village ★★ 2004 (PG-13)
So is Shyamalan a one-trick director or are we just anticipating a trick in every film he directs? This solemn supernatural thriller is set in a 19th Century village whose insular, fearful inhabitants have formed an uneasy, unspoken truce with the monsters that live in the woods that surround it. The village elders forbid anyone to go beyond the perimeter but Lucius (Phoenix) becomes determined to defy them. Lucius is in love with blind Ivy (Howard), who is also loved by the village idiot Noah (Brody in an unfortunate role). Except that it's Ivy who finally enters the woods and is soon hearing scary noises coming in her direction. The payoff doesn't measure up to the portentousness. Maybe it's time Shyamalan does a comedy. 120m/C DVD . US Joaquin Rafael (Leaf) Phoenix, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Adrien Brody, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Jayne Atkinson, Frank Collison, Brendan Gleeson, Cherry Jones, Liz Stauber, Celia Weston, Michael Pitt, John Christopher Jones, Fran Kranz; D: M. Night Shyamalan; W: M. Night Shyamalan; C: Roger Deakins; M: James Newton Howard.