An exciting thriller about a family vacation that has prepared a lot of tests. Time on a serene vacation always flows lazily, as if slowing down the run. But this captivating place has its own laws.
A married couple with children in a tropical resort. They enjoy exotic nature, and the atmosphere of a luxurious hotel makes a good impression. The kids, eleven-year-old Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and six-year-old Trent (Nolan River), find themselves a friend – the boy of Idlib, his uncle is the manager. The rosy picture of an ideal marriage turns out to be a fake – Prisca, played by Vicki Crips, is seriously ill and plans to part with her husband Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal). A loud quarrel scares the children, they are distracted by solving a simple puzzle.
Early morning on the ocean, and a naked girl goes into the water. The dark-skinned satellite remains under the shadow of the rocks.
The hotel guests have gathered for breakfast, and the Kappa family is offered an exciting picnic in a closed protected area. They are accompanied by other guests of the hotel – the mannered blonde Crystal (Abby Lee) with her six-year-old daughter Kara (Kayla Bailey), her husband Charles, a heart surgeon (Rufus Sewell) and the elderly lady Agnes (Kathleen Schelfant).
The marvelous bay delights vacationers. The unique place was safely hidden by rocky massifs, travelers got to the beach through a narrow passage. Tourists have found out that they are not alone – a dark-skinned big man eschews newcomers. The kids play carelessly until a terrifying discovery interrupted all the fun – the boy found a corpse. When the drowned woman was pulled out of the water, the estranged guy “came to life”. Mid-Size Sedan (Aaron Pierre), a rapper, revealed that a friend went swimming and didn’t come back.
The inhabitants of the heavenly place notice something is wrong – the musician is bleeding from his nose, the old woman is unwell, the baby Trent is uncomfortable. Djarin and Patricia Carmichael (Ken Leung and Nikki Amuka-Bird) join the bewildered company. The man tries to walk through the aisle to call the police, but he gets a severe migraine.
Another death occurs on the beach – Madame Agnes has died. The amazed mother sees that her offspring have matured by 5 years. A rapper and a heart surgeon storm a narrow hole in the rocks, but dizziness and incoordination prevent them from moving forward.
General panic seized the unlucky tourists. They did not notice the suspicious behavior of Charles, and he attacks Sedan with a knife. The incident revealed another oddity – the wound on the musician’s face quickly healed. “Damn” continues – children are growing rapidly.
The heroine Vicki Crips loses consciousness, the tumor in her stomach is growing in front of her eyes. Charles and Djarin surgically remove the dangerous growth. The woman recovered.
Mid-Size discovered that the body of the drowned woman had decomposed to the bone. Simple calculations showed that half a century passes for them in one day on the damned shore. The poor fellow expects another blow – Kara became pregnant from Trent, and she went into labor, but the baby did not survive. The doctor again has a seizure, and he stabs Sedan with a knife.
Djarin decided to leave the anomalous place by swimming through the bay. Comrades in misfortune understand that their presence on the island is not accidental – they are all sick. The victims are being watched, overseers appear on the hills. Death mows down the inhabitants of the beach one by one – Djarin drowned, Kara falls off a cliff, Patricia dies from an epileptic attack, Crystal from a congenital ailment.
The Kappa family is left alone. The couple is in complete agreement. Brother and sister find a diary from which they learn that a natural anomaly formed from rocks causes premature aging of cells.
A crazy doctor emerges from the darkness and attacks the peaceful couple. Guy shields his wife, and she manages to escape from the psychopath. She hides the children and hurries to help her husband. Prisca stabbed Charles with a rusty knife, and blood poisoning occurred instantly. The madman dies in terrible agony.
Relatives spend their last hours in calm and peace. The father died, followed by the mother.
Mature Maddox and Trent build a sandcastle. The brother solves Iglib’s cipher. The note reads: “My uncle doesn’t like the coral reef.” They throw themselves into the water and make their way through the coral maze. The sister clings to the sharp shoots and cannot get out of the trap.
The observer examines the water surface. He reports on the phone that participants in trial number 73 have died. A man goes to a mysterious laboratory, which is full of activity. The red-haired manager is pleased – almost all traces of the presence of the dead guests have been erased. The laboratory assistant announces that they have developed a drug for epilepsy.
Pleasant music sounds on the hotel terrace, joyful laughter is heard. A stranger approaches one of the vacationers, who serves in the police, and gives him a notebook.
New guests are greeted by the staff and hold out a glass in which the medicine is mixed. The glass is overturned by Maddox and Trent who suddenly appear. Panic breaks out in the lab. A police officer takes a brother and sister to the airport in a helicopter.
The meaning of the film
Director M. Night Shyamalan touched on several deep philosophical implications in his work. He took as a basis human negligence towards the most important incorporeal matter, time. Someone becomes a killer of this non-renewable resource, wasting a precious limit. Few build a correct, rational attitude towards hours, months and even years that fly by as quickly as golden grains of sand from an anomalous beach seep through their fingers.
From the first minutes, the character of Vicki Crips utters a phrase that reflects the main message of the film: “Don’t rush time.” Heroes, only being on the verge of death, realized the true values, forgot about disagreements and misunderstandings.
The unexpected ending gives new food for thought. The hostages of the unique bay have become experimental mice on which the medicine is being tested. Magnetic fields are a kind of catalysts that speed up the passage of time and reduce the time of testing, instead of several decades – hours and days. By sacrificing doomed people, one can find a panacea for deadly diseases and save millions. But who is free to condemn the participants of the experiment to death, who will take on the role of arbiter of fate? Fanatic pharmacists, in order to justify cruelty, interpret Sh. Korday’s statement in their favor: “Kill one to save a hundred thousand.”
Characteristics of heroes
Priska is a loving mother, a reasonable person. She worries that she will not be able to overcome the disease and will not see how her children grow up. Goes crazy with worry from their rapid maturation. Determined and self-confident, ready for change. Without hesitation, he rushes to the rescue of his beloved husband.
Guy is a caring father of the family. The hero Gael Garcia Bernal is worried about his sick wife, it is difficult for him to decide to part. He knows that Priska has a lover, but he never reproached her for ruining the family. Guy makes a responsible decision and agrees to the operation, realizing that no one guarantees a successful outcome. I agree to sacrifice my life, saving the missus from a crazy doctor.
Maddox is a character who appears on the screen at various ages: a teenager, a girl (Thomasin McKenzie played her role) and a middle-aged lady (Ambeth Davidtz). The heroine protects her younger brother. She is warm and sensitive, calms the sobbing Kristel, supports the rapper. Suffering from the divorce of his parents. Tries to act and feel like a mature person.
Trent is a kid who reincarnated as a teenager (Luca Faustino Rodriguez), a young man (Alex Wolff) “played” adult games and became a dad. He is ready to be responsible for the baby and girlfriend. As an adult (Iman Elliott), he saves his sister who is stuck in a coral trap.
Krystal is an eccentric, narrow-minded blonde, and perceives a dangerous place as a killer of beauty and youth. Does not support the giving birth to a daughter, falls into hysterics.
Charles is a man who has done much good and much harm. Helps “compatriots”, but madness has turned the doctor into a maniac. On his conscience – the murder of Sedan.
Kara is an immature girl who briefly became a mother. It is hard to bear the loss of a child. In a moment of despair, he tries to leave the monstrous shore, the thought “We seem to be adults, but we have nothing to remember” prompted him to take a risky step.
Djarin and Patricia Carmichael are a harmonious couple. They are active, decisive, humane, do not lose hope and seek salvation. The woman suffers and blames herself for the death of the newborn.
Mid-Size Sedan is a sullen and faithless character. When suspicion fell on him in the murder of a girl, he remains cold-blooded and even indifferent. He is frank only with Maddison, talks about his parents and illness.
The indisputable advantage of the film is the original idea, unexpected twists in the plot and directorial techniques. An avalanche of shocks falls on the shocked viewer, he does not have time to “digest” the tragic incident, as a dynamic scenario presents another surprise. This concentration of stressful situations, however, did not serve very well. The creators of the picture tried so hard to surprise the audience that some events give off grotesque and absurdity.
M. Night Shyamalan in some scenes keeps the intrigue to the last. The incredible changes that happen to children are hidden from the audience, they see only the stupor and bewilderment of their parents. Another technique is a blurry image, the world through Guy’s eyes when he loses his sight.
At the end, there is a subtle hint of a sequel. The heroes survived, the laboratory was discovered, but there is a powerful force, the organizer of a pharmaceutical company, and the fate of this puppeteer is not known.