There Has to Be a Twist in M. Night Shyamalan's Old, Right? Here Are 4 Theories
After terrifying us with Glass, thriller connoisseur M. Night Shyamalan is officially back with the immensely creepy Old. The film follows a family who head off to vacation at a secluded beach, where all is well until they realize their tropical paradise causes people to age rapidly and effectively reduces their lives to a single day. In addition to this horrifying realization, the beach dwellers also discover weird symbols and a dead body along the way. Given this turn of events, there just has to be a Shyamalan twist coming, right?
The film is based on Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Lévy's graphic novel Sandcastle, which essentially shares the same premise as Old — though we have to point out there's no Twilight Zone twist in the book itself. But given that Shyamalan is notorious for his movie twists, we're more or less expecting one even before the film drops. So what will the shocking turn be? We won't know for sure until Old comes out on July 23, but we do have a few theories about potential surprises in the film's third act!
Theory 1: The visitors are stuck in a time loop at the beach.
Fair warning: we've got some spoilers ahead for Netflix's In the Tall Grass! One possible scenario is that the mysterious beach traps the visitors in some sort of time loop where they're forced to relive their mortal lives over and over again. As Twitter user @iank366 pointed out, the film does share a similar vibe with the onscreen adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill's In the Tall Grass. In the Netflix horror film, we see the characters get trapped in a maze and die over and over again in a twisted time loop, their decomposed bodies fertilizing the ominous grass field.
Theory 2: The beach has some sort of curse that creates aging clones.
According to Twitter user @randehman, the beach in Old might have some sort of device or curse that consistently creates aging clones that the original family members find. Eventually, everyone in the original family dies, but they're replaced by confused older clones, who, in turn, get replaced by older clones until everyone ultimately dies out. Is this theory a little convoluted? Sure. We have to admit it kind of makes perfect sense for a Shyamalan twist, though!
Theory 3: The parents have dementia.
Could these beach dwellers actually just be reliving bittersweet memories with some horrifying weird symbols and corpses thrown into the mix? Maybe. One less-convoluted explanation, put forward by Reddit user TheDumbestTimeline, is that the parents have dementia. It's possible they're simply experiencing hallucinations of their kids growing up at the beach. The film title is, in fact, Old, and Shyamalan has explored dementia (specifically the symptom of sundowning) before, most notably in his 2015 film The Visit.
Theory 4: There will be no twist.
As we've mentioned before, the original graphic novel doesn't have a twist. Sandcastle author Pierre Oscar originally developed a twist for the graphic novel but ultimately decided against it to preserve the frightening and existential dimensions of the book. While Shyamalan's movies almost always have a twist, he could pull a 180 this time around and omit one altogether. The lack of a shocking turn would definitely add an existential air of mystery to the movie . . . but the dead body and symbols both suggest we're going to get a weird, twisty explanation by the end.