Friday, April 19, 2024

Box Office: Equally Awful “Snake Eyes” and “Old” Make $1.5 Million in Previews, Have Rotten Reviews


It’s not going to be a celebratory weekend at the box office.

The new films — “Snake Eyes” and “Old” — each made $1.5 million in previews Thursday night.

They are poorly reviewed– they’re bad movies in different ways. “Snake Eyes,” which I haven’t seen, scored a 40 on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics derided it.

“Old,” directed by M. Night Shyamalan, got a higher number — 56– which is still pretty bad.

I watched “Old” two nights ago and was seriously shocked how terrible it was. The cast is excellent, it’s not their fault. They are all terrific actors including Gael Garcia Bernal, Rufus Sewell, Vicki Krieps, Ken Leung from “Lost,” and Alex Wolff.

The problem is the premise and how cheap it all looks. They’re all on a Fantasy Island vacation. The manager sends them to a special beach where they are trapped. They can’t leave. Indeed, the guy who drops them off is Shyamalan himself in his Hitchcock role.

Immediately bad things happen, and I don’t mean sunburn. A dead woman floats up from the water. The three children in the group suddenly start aging, which means the actors playing them get switched out. Vicky Krieps’ character suddenly has a tumor that must be removed, which is insane. One of the quickly grown girls becomes pregnant (immaculate conception) and gives birth.

All the adults start aging. One of them gets dementia. But really, it’s the studio executives who greenlit this thing who had dementia. The story is banal, rote, uninteresting. It’s also cheap cheap cheap. Most of it takes place on the beach. There are no sets. There’s minimal special effects. The actors get points for trying to sell what is basically an acting class, trying to convince the audience something is happening.

Credit goes to the make up artists and lighting directors. They’ve worked overtime to make this silliness convincing. But really, if you’ve seen the TV series, “Lost,” this is tame stuff with even less explanation. At the end, Shyamalan attempts to explain what’s happened, but there’s no twist, no big revelation. You just wonder why you wasted your time.

Shymalan’s movies, other than “The Sixth Sense,” simply elude me. Almost all of them are the Emperor’s New Clothes, a lot of hype amounting to not much.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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