Alkony logo

If you'd like to be surprised by the Old film, I don't recommend you to watch the trailer beyond 0:47, because it gives away too much of the plot. It basically provides a summary of the film, up to the ending scene, it's only the very end we are not shown.

Old, movie (2021) - Watch the trailer on YouTube
Watch the trailer in French - Watch the trailer in German - Watch the trailer in Hindi - Watch the trailer in Hungarian - Watch the trailer in Italian - Watch the trailer in Spanish
video © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Article updated: 2022.09.04

The Old (2021) is a sci-fi / fantasy thriller film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Old, movie (2021)

Original title: Old

Series: -

Setting: alternate Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: sci-fi / fantasy thriller, Style: sci-fi, fantasy, thriller

Release: Premiere: 2021.07.19 (Jazz at Lincoln Center), Release: 2021.07.21

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2021.08), first time

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

* * *

This is my review of Old, a sci-fi / fantasy thriller movie from 2021. It's about a group of people stuck on a beach, that they are unable to leave. The Old film is watchable but slow, I only recommend it to fans of the genre.

Old, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOld, movie (2021)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

* * *

Review (spoiler-free) - Old, movie (2021)

I mostly like Shyamalan's work, so I was interested in his new movie. I've seen the trailer, although I didn't remember much of it. When I got the time, I've watched it.

The Old movie is about a group of people stuck on a beach, that they are unable to leave.

The story is so long that it gets boring. It's a mystery movie, but we don't get clues and answers often enough to keep the story interesting. It's consistent in it's mediocrity, though. There are no character arcs. There are also some logical problems, although those might come from the lack of explanations.

Some reviews said that the trailer implied it's a horror story, and this was lacking from the movie. Sure, this was not a horror, but a slow burning story, with a very little amount of scares or even action scenes.

The cinematography was okay, but nothing impressive. There were some nice shots, interesting camera angles. The chosen beach set was good looking, but it stopped being interesting after a while.

For most of the story, the movie avoids depicting violence and gore, but then there's a scene when it doesn't. I would have preferred to avoid that scene too, as it didn't really add to the story.

We don't really get to know the characters. We learn their names, their occupations and their medical conditions, but not much beyond that. The actors portrayed them fine, but even they couldn't make the characters interesting. At least they were looking distinct, you knew who you are looking at.

The music (by Trevor Gureckis) was okay, but kind of cliche. When they wanted us to feel relaxed, they played relaxing music, when they wanted us to feel tense, they played tense music, but I felt that the whole thing was forced.

Old is a watchable sci-fi / fantasy thriller, I think some fans of the genre might enjoy it.

My experience

I was not satisfied with Old (2021). I liked the main concept, but the execution was boring. (Edit: I've read the Sandcastle comics, this movie was based on, I'd recommend reading that instead of watching the movie. It's so much better.)

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Old is a watchable film, but not very good.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Old is not very interesting.

Rewatchability: I'm not sure. I think it's mostly the surprise of the story that makes you feel interested, if you reach that point in the movie. If you liked it for the first time, you'll probably like it for multiple times.

Chance of watching it again: Nope. I don't think I'd ever watch this again.

Chance of watching a sequel: Good question. The main concept was fine, I can imagine a better made sequel, or even a prequel.

Old, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOld, movie (2021)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Will you enjoy this?

If you are a fan of the works of M. Night Shyamalan, you'll watch this movie any way.

If you like mystery or thriller movies, you might like Old.

If you like horror or action thriller movies (Predator, The Beach), you will be bored by the film, as there are not many action scenes or scary scenes in the Old movie.

If you like scientific research stories (Andromeda Strain), you might like Old, although the focus is not really on the research and investigation.

If you can get through the first half hour of the movie still interested, the movie will be similar up to the end.

If you like twists, you might enjoy this movie. Although the "twist" is already shown at the beginning of the movie, so it won't work that well.

If you prefer visuals over story, you'll be probably bored by Old. On the other hand, if you prefer story over visuals, you might be still bored by the movie.

If you hate it when a main character gets hurt, or dies incredibly painfully, Old is not for you.

If you hate the depiction of racism, avoid this movie.

If you hate to watch kindergarten age kids having sex, and you wish to skip those parts, when they hide in the cave, you should fast forward until the night falls.

If you don't want to see newborn babies die due to starving, fast forward a couple of minutes after the childbirth starts.

Watching for plot points

If you are interested in stories about investigating mysteries, I think it's worth watching the Old movie for the plot points.

* * *

Old, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOld, movie (2021)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Review with spoilers - Old, movie (2021)

I liked the concept of the Old movie, but the actual execution was too long for me, and lacked logic.


I don't like the covers. Some covers for the movie immediately spoil the story. Others are just too abstract. Also, none of them show anything that's actually happening in the movie.

The trailer

The trailer is basically a substitute for watching the movie.

If you prefer spoilers, it's a great trailer for the Old film. If you prefer to avoid spoilers, it will ruin the movie for you.

Promise of the first scene

The characters arrive at a hotel. There are lots of references to being too young, wishes to become old, or to hurry the time to go faster. Based on the previews, I assume they will get all of these.

Execution: Yep, we got that. The foreshadowing worked, I liked that.

Plot summary / Synopsis

A couple of people go to an exotic resort. There's a father (Gael García Bernal as Guy Cappa) and mother (Vicky Krieps as Prisca Cappa) with a daughter, a girl (Alexa Swinton as 11 year old Maddox Cappa) and a son, a boy (Nolan River as 6 year old Trent Cappa).

They are guided to a special beach by the hosts, who also brings a surgeon (Rufus Sewell as Charles), with his wife (Abbey Lee as Chrystal), his mother, and old lady (Kathleen Chalfant as Agnes), and his daughter, a younger girl (Kylie Begley as 6 year old Kara).

When they arrive, there's already a rapper (Aaron Pierre as Mid-Sized Sedan / Brendan), and a psychologist (Nikki Amuka-Bird as Patricia Carmichael), with her husband, a nurse (Ken Leung as Jarin Carmichael).

While they are having a good time, a dead body is found in the water. Then the old lady starts to feel bad, and dies. So does their dog.

The kids start to look like teenagers. (Luca Faustino Rodriguez as 11 year old Trent Cappa, Thomasin McKenzie as teenager Maddox Cappa, Mikaya Fisher as 11 year old Kara.)

Then the young girl gets pregnant while "playing" with the boy. After a couple of minutes, she gives birth, but the baby suddenly dies.

Some people try to get away, but they either fell asleep or die when they reach the limits of the area. The adults manifest medical conditions tied to old age. Then they die.

Only two kids remain (Emun Elliott as adult Trent Cappa, Embeth Davidtz as adult Maddox Cappa), who decide to swim out, but unlike the others, they will swim under the coral reef. They are successful. They call the police, and they start investigating the missing person cases.

The setting

Contemporary alternate Earth. The whole thing might take place in a reality where aging doesn't work like in our universe, and hair and nails remain at a constant length throught lifetime. (But even this statement is contradicted when one of the characters grows a beard.)

A pharmaceutical company found a beach with extra-ordinary properties, and they use the place for human experiments, while recording the events.

Old, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOld, movie (2021)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

The research

The experimenters somehow know every medical detail about the people they test.

Then they mix up a cocktail of drugs they want to test, and they mix that in a real cocktail, so they must be really careful what kind of flavouring ingredients they use. They make the test subjects drink that cocktail no matter what.

Then they send those people to the beach, I suppose even if they have to force them.

Then beach magic happens, they film the happenings, and they somehow get more clever due to that.

The beach

The effects of the beach are not really explained, but we see a lot of things happening:

  • Adults start to age, they get wrinkles, get near sighted.
  • Younglings start to grow up normally. They grow in size, get properly masculine / feminine. They get fertile.
  • If you get a cut, it heals immediately, without scarring.
  • Wounds don't get infected unless the plot requires it. Then the infection destroys the whole body.
  • Broken bones are healed quickly. If they are in a wrong place, they heal in the wrong place, disfiguring the victim.
  • If you try to keep the cut open, the skin will try to grow over the blocking material.
  • If you die, you stay dead. The dead body will decompose very quickly.
  • If you have any medical condition, it doesn't get any better, but you probably don't get any new ones either, unless it's tied to old age.
  • The people inside the zone don't need food, just for growing.
  • They don't need to sleep.
  • They still need air, if they fall into water, they can drown.
  • A baby born inside died a minute after birth.
  • Circa 30 minutes is one year.
  • Hair and nails do not grow. I'm not sure about teeth - one of the kids were 6 years old, but he didn't seem to change his baby teeth into permanent ones.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one. Don't trust medical companies? Don't trust tropical resorts? Don't watch movies by M. Night Shyamalan?

It also implies the question "Is it worth the deaths of hundreds of people to eradicate all disease and illness from the world?", but I think that's a stupid question, because yes, it is worth it. A lot more people die by diseases daily.

The structure of the story

The scenes of the Old film are mostly played in sequence, following the same storyline. There's one flashback in the end, showing how the siblings escaped from the beach.

It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - beginning, action, resolution.

* * *

Things I liked

  • There's a hidden place with extra-ordinary effects, that could be researched.
  • The foreshadowing in the opening scene was cool.

* * *

How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I don't think I've read anything from the creators of the graphic novel (Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters), although I intend to look them up.

I've seen some movies from the script writer and director (M. Night Shyamalan). The Sixth Sense, The Village, Unbreakable and Split was better than Old. The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth, and Glass was similar in quality as Old.

How does it compare to the original source?

I've read the graphic novel after I've seen the movie, and that was a much better story. Everything the movie added to the plot, was for the worse. I would have preferred if they kept the story closer to the original.

* * *

Old, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOld, movie (2021)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Analysis of the story - Old, movie (2021)

I mostly liked the concept of the story, but the boring editing and some problems prevented me from enjoying Old.

Problematic elements

The title: It's not a big thing, but "Old" sound both boring and stupid. Is it the beach that is old? Is it referring to someone specific? Does it just show that the writer is not very creative?

The premise: A pharmaceutical company found a beach where people age faster. So they decide to build a normal hotel, where they lure some people with specific medical conditions they are researching a cure for. When those people arrive with their families, they give them the medicine, abduct the whole family, send them to the beach, document their deads, and hide their bodies. This raises a lot of questions:

  • Why do they have real guests at all? Especially as this is a covert operation? Even if they completely erase their tracks, the guests will still remember that they've seen the missing people. Also, as they do background checks on the test patients, I'd assume they would do the same for the real guests, and they wouldn't let police officers near the facility.
  • As Ryan George asks, what happens, if people share their cocktails with others?
  • Why do they lure the whole family, when they would only need the one with the medical condition?
  • Why do they wait until the patients die, instead of getting them out after some time?
  • Did the company really think that nobody will find out about their abductions? That nobody would question what had happened to all those families who went to a weekend at that specific hotel?
  • As Ryan George questions, why do they even use a famous rapper as a test subject if they want to hide their shady workings?
  • How exactly does this experiment help the approval of their medicine? While it does speed the research a little bit, the proper medical tests will still take decades, as their "magical proofs" won't be accepted. They don't monitor what happens exactly inside their bodies, they just view them from a distance. They also can't be sure how would the medicine work in real life conditions, where cuts won't heal themselves, people need food and time to sleep.

Curious kid: While the kid running into people and asking their name and profession is not a bad way to introduce new characters, but it looks like the curiosity of the kid stops exactly that. So, instead of an interesting shtick, it's just a lazy way of exposition.

M. Night Shyamalan cameo: I don't think it's funny or appropriate to include himself in the story. Seeing him breaks the immersion immediately. And he wasn't there only once, but also returned at the end. That was a bad movie in my opinion.

Rapid aging: Rapid aging doesn't work like that in our world. Their hair and nails would constantly grow (because it's not dead in our reality). Their skin would be flaking away constantly. Unless they would devour excessive amount of food, their body would eat away itself. Broken bones require extra material to repair themselves, so without that, they wouldn't fix themselves magically.

Something from nothing: I don't like that the kids are able to grow without proper sustenance to build their bodies. Aging doesn't make a kids body grow, it's the lot of food they eat that makes them bigger. Rapid aging would just make them kid sized adults.

Rapid decay: The dead bodies decay because there are animals and microbes that feed on it. However, the inhabitants of the area doesn't require feeding, so they won't eat that body in mere minutes. If those creatures were that hungry, the humans would be probably also hungry. And if the effect of the area works differently on microbes, then the microbes in the human body would also digest their hosts in mere minutes.

Whining about viruses: The mother was constantly talking about viral infections, that causes this to the kids. While I get it that it was one theory, but hearing it too many times was annoying for me.

The operation: It looked stupid and unrealistic. For all they did, they could have just killed the woman.

Getting pregnant: People don't get pregnant by playing, I'm pretty sure they had sex, and I'm also pretty sure they had some previous knowledge of what could happen.

Violence and body horror: For most of the movie, horrific elements are hidden, but there one scene when the lady breaks her own bones in front of the kids, while her husband tries to kill their parents. I didn't feel that scene fit into the movie, and didn't add anything to the story. On the other hand, other reviewers thought that the movie should have been focusing on the body horror elements of aging, and that's also something I could accept, although that wouldn't be a family friendly story.

Impatient Shyamalan: He said he waited for the siblings to resurface for 1.5 minutes. That's not very long, and people can hold their breath for quite a long time.

The flashback: I don't think we really need the flashback to show how the grown up kids survived. When they show up later, the audience will be able to come up with an explanation without the ruining of the sequential story.

"The twist": The fact that they didn't just get randomly into this aging effect was already shown in the beginning. We have seen that the families were chosen, and the shady looking guy took them to the beach, but didn't dare to set a foot there. So, when it was revealed that the whole thing was intentional, it was not a surprise at all. Had they trimmed the beginning, and we had only seen when they entered the beach, it could have worked better.

The police: It seems that the whole place is an island. And probably the whole island is the property of the medical company. Why do they let the cop to do anything? If they can make hundreds of people disappear without a trace, why is the cop different? If they control everything on the island, they probably won't let the cop contact anyone outside.

Unanswered questions

What happened to the baby? It couldn't starve to death, because the others don't need to eat. Unless the zone has a different effect on babies.

* * *

Possibilities of improvements

Trim the beginning: After they arrive at the hotel, let them take a quick look, and the next scene should be the families entering the mystery beach.

Trim the scenes: The first 3/4 of the movie is way too slow. Cut some parts out of it, to speed up the story.

Cutting the violent scene: There's no need for that in the movie.

Cut the flashback: The audience should be able to imagine what happened.

How it could have been better?

Make it shorter.

Or hire a medical expert / biologist to make the events work out as it would happen in real life, with the effects of the area. Make it as real as possible, and disregard the events of the graphic novel.

Caitlin Zurowski came up with an idea that the people on the beach are genetic copies of the people being tested, with the knowledge of the original. The originals spend some time at the resort, enjoying themselves, while waiting for the medical results to be determined due to the rapid aging of the copies. They could see how would some small thing change their lives in the future, or how succesful a treatment would be. They could even do this multiple times to check alternate treatments. This would also make it easier to accept the medical crew, as they are not killing "real people" constantly.

* * *

Old, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOld, movie (2021)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Uses for the film - Old, movie (2021)


  • A company finds a place with extra-ordinary qualities.
  • A company abducts people to experiment on them.
  • A company creates a hotel and lures people there to abduct them.
  • There's a place where people are aging rapidly.


  • When they arrive into the hotel, it could be used to depict arrivals into hotels.

Scenario ideas - Role-playing game scenario ideas

  • The team gets stuck in a strange place that has extra-ordinary qualities. They have to understand how does those qualities effect them, and come up with a way to get out of the place.

Scenario ideas - Wargame scenario ideas

  • Living things get accelerated healing on the playing area (or in a zone of the playing area). If someone gets damaged, but not killed outright, the damage will be healed by the next turn.

Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

Human civilians: Modern Human-sized human civilians.

* * *

Similar stories - Old, movie (2021)

Short stories




Graphic novels

Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters: Sandcastle (2010): The graphic novel the movie is based on.



TV series & episodes

Lost: People are stuck on an otherwise nice tropical place, while strange things happening to them.

Computer games


* * *

Frequently asked questions - Old, movie (2021)

Is the Old film based on a book or comics?

Yes, Old is based on the Sandcastle comics by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters.

Is there a post credit scene in Old?

No, there's no post credit scene in Old.

Where can I watch Old online? Is Old available on Netflix? Is Old on Amazon?

As of 2022.10.17, Old is available on Amazon Prime Video.

* * *

Resources - Old, movie (2021)


Old: Official webpage.


IMDB: Old (2021): Database article.

WikiPedia: Old (film): Database article.

Letterboxd: Old 2021: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Old 2021: Database article.


: Concept art article.¤

Reviews with no spoilers - Old film (2021)

Austin Burke: Old (2021) - Movie Review | M. Night Shyamalan's Return: Review article about the Old film with minor spoilers, probably not more than the trailer.

Marianna Neal: Old 2021 ★★: Review article about the Old film with no spoilers.

Reviews with spoilers - Old film (2021)

Caitlin Zurowski: Old 2021: Review article of the Old movie, with spoilers. It has some additional ideas on how to make the story better.

Reviews with spoilers - Old film (2021) - Hungarian

Bakay Botond (for Seventh Row): Old - Review (in Hungarian): Review article of the Old movie, with spoilers, in Hungarian.

English version by Google Translate

Analysis - Old movie (2021)

Ryan George (for Screen Rant): Old Pitch Meeting: Humorous analysis video about Old.Ł

* * *

Buying the product - Old, movie (2021)

* * *

Have you seen the Old film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!


Comments powered by CComment