The Enquirer didn't have much good to say about it either.
Skip the trip
to 'The Village'
By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Score: 2 (out of 10)
(PG-13 A scene of violence, frightening situations)
Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Don't go into the woods. No, really. Don't bother.
If you do venture into the forested thickets of The Village, you risk getting bogged down in a silly stunt of a movie from a guy who should know better.
Fright-maven M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) shoves his talented cast into contrivances so tortured they squeal, in service of a plot that amounts to little more than a prank. Not to mention the fact that despite elaborate publicity stunts and stern warnings to avoid giving away the movie's "secrets," very little happens on screen that can't be predicted by any reasonably attentive viewer.
The setting is what looks like some kind of 19th-century cult outpost where everyone speaks in the starchy patois of a Colonial Williamsburg tour guide. The village is surrounded by thick woods guarded by torch lights and yellow banners meant to keep away unseen creatures who are so scary that sentries spend the night in towers to warn of any incursions. (How the villagers got into the village valley in the first place is never explained.)
The fearsome critters, we're told, have some kind of unspoken detente with the villagers: Leave us alone, and we'll do the same. Yet there are always young folks eager to tempt fate.
For the movie's purposes, it is Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), a moody, tightly wound young man who wants to cross the woods to "the towns," which, though wicked, contain medicines that might prevent children from dying. Passing comments reveal that all the village elders (including Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt) lost loved ones to violent crime in "the towns," and apparently fear bandits more than lethal diseases, so they discourage Lucius.
The other key character is Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard), a blind girl with preternatural navigational abilities who falls in love with Lucius and marries him just as the creatures seem to be on a rampage - skinning livestock, painting red slashes on buildings, stomping around town, growling, what have you.
Shyamalan throws in a tragedy involving a simpleton (Adrien Brody), then sends Ivy off to "the towns" on her own.
The Big Twist near the end is such a bore it's not worth revealing. Suffice it to say it's less than a shattering shock, and The Village is less than even middling quality entertainment.