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A Mystery and Thriller film by M. Night Shyamalan set in a turn-of-the-century village in Pennsylvania. The villagers believe that the woods surrounding their hamlet are inhabited by fell supernatural creatures, and fear to venture outside.
Like most of Shyamalan's movies, the film has a Twist Ending. It was not as well-received as his previous films and is considered by some to be the point his movies started going downhill. Still, it has a devoted fanbase, and it is quite possible it may become a Cult Classic.
Also note: As this is a suspense film, plot twists come steadily and often. As such, spoilers will not be marked on this page.
- Aura Vision: Ivy Walker's Disability Superpower
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: There is much ado made about the colors red and yellow.
- City in a Bottle
- Disabled Love Interest: Ivy
- Empathic Environment: In the scene where Ivy and Lucius confess their love for each other, their eyes are connected by
a beam of lovebacklit fog on the nearby horizon behind them.
- The Fair Folk: The creatures initially appear to be vengeful spirit-creatures. But no, they're just people in suits.
- The Gay Nineties: A much Darker and Edgier variant, closer to The Crucible than Citizen Kane, their “1897” is more like “1697” in technology and tone. The setting seems to be 100% pre-industrial, agarian, and Puritanical. This is likely the first sign that something is wrong, and that it's all a sham on part of the elders.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: It's got Ellen Ripley, Gwen Stacy and many, many other familiar faces.
- Hidden Elf Village: Purposefully created in a "wildlife sanctuary".
- Knight Templar: The elders collectively.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Noah's reason for stabbing Lucius.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Averted. Ivy and Lucius are good people. It's Noah who goes crazy.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The movie was advertised as horror, when it is closer to drama or romance.
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Planet of the Apes Ending: The film is set in the modern day, in a Hidden Elf Village.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Walker, and actually all the town elders in a way. The movie actually deserves credit for not taking the tired path of mean puritan judges who won't listen to reason. True, there are still falsehoods being kept, but they don't resort to physical cruelty, violence and trials to maintain it, and at least a reason for doing so is presented in the end. This is perfectly justified; the movie is actually set in the present day, and the elders created the village as a refuge from the greed, cruelty and violence of the modern world, hoping they could raise their children to be Perfect Pacifist People through example. It mostly worked, as pretty much everyone is kind and empathetic. Unfortunately, they didn't account for the possibility of bearing children with mental illnesses; it's implied that Noah's condition would be treatable with antidepressants, but instead he ends up attacking Lucius and later Ivy.
- Scare Dare: The test is to stand with your back to the haunted woods; first one to give up loses.
- Scenery Porn
- Scooby-Doo Hoax: "Those we don't speak of."
- Tomato Surprise
- The Trope Without a Title: "Those we don't speak of."
- Uncanny Village
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The peace of the village is supposedly worth giving up modern living.
- The Wall Around the World: Separating it from highways.
- Was It Really Worth It?: The elders end up asking themselves this in the end; despite the sacrifices they both made and forced on their children(Ivy's blindness was stated to have been preventable in a modern hospital), and successfully isolating themselves from the outside world, violence sprang up in their pacifist community anyway due to Noah's mental illness. They can blame Noah's death on "Those we don't speak of" to cement the ruse, but how long can it really last?