The Village

Rated 3.0 An isolated community of farmers (picture 19th-century Amish or Shakers) lives in an uneasy truce with unseen monsters that dwell in the surrounding woods. To say more would tell too much; let’s just say that the secret of writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s script—although it’s well-thought-out and slyly logical—is a bit of a letdown. Still, Shyamalan remains ever the master of mood and of unseen, inchoate menace; he can give depth and gravity to scenes that in other hands would be either boring or ridiculous. Then, too, he has a wonderful cast that includes William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Adrien Brody and Brendan Gleeson. The young lovers at the heart of the story are played by Joaquin Phoenix (excellent, though off-screen for too long) and, in a real breakthrough performance, Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Ron).