Paul Hibbard’s review published on Letterboxd:
M Night Shyamalan's completely bonkers dive into what feels like a 2 hour Twilight Zone episode worked for me ultimately because his ambition and passion outweighed the clunkiness, but let's be clear, there is a lot of clunky moments in this.
I appreciate after making movies for over 25 years, Shyamalan directed this movie like he just entered a film production class and watched a De Palma film for the first time. Anything at his disposal he's using to make the insanity of this beach feel real to the audience. Dizzying shots, extreme off-center closeups, snorricams, go-pros. He's like a kid in a candy store and is having a blast trying to convey the story with something more than standard conventional shooting.
It seems that the biggest lesson he has learned over the years is if he's going to convey insanity on screen, like The Happening, you can't do it with just traditional tools. It creates a bad mix of showing the characters acting in an extreme and you're shooting it conventionally and it comes off as goofy and almost ruins your career. If The Visit and Split was his comeback then Old feels like a doubling down on his crazy mid-career period, but this time he's gonna do it differently.
There's a lot of messaging that can be picked up here, from the overemphasis of occupations showing that being defined by your work with age is as imprisoning as this beach, to a dying planet aging at a rapid speed, killing off everything from people to coral reefs, to other messaging that would dive into spoilers.
This movie is far from a masterpiece. And there were times I said out loud - this isn't working. But I'd rather someone fail swinging has hard as they can, instead of playing it safe, and his failures in here I will forgive and ignore for the times he actually connects. I wish more filmmakers played it this risky