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Stars: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Alexa Swinton, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott, Nolan River

Director: M Night Shyamalan

A preposterous concept for a chiller - and given little chance of success when laced with the director's own hysterical dialogue, in which characters say such things as 'Compartmentalise!' 'I don't like this dynamic at all,' mutters another.

The 'dynamic' they're faced with is a secluded beach to which a family of four, plus half-a-dozen others from their 'paradise' hotel (filming was done in the Dominican Republic) are transported, only to find themselves ageing there at the rate of two years an hour.

Not surprisingly, the oldest member of the party soon expires, and another is found floating face-down in the sea.

'We're on a beach with two dead bodies,' groans hospital supervisor Sewell. 'That's clinically impossible.' It gets no better. especially for poor Sewell, who has the worst part - although there are some touching moments towards the end.

Characters don't really seem to age as much as they should (even if one ages from five to 16 and then has a baby in about half-an-hour), as all attempts at escape are thrown back, with the would-be escapees suffering blinding headaches, one of many things never logically explained.

There is of course an eventual double twist. If I say that most of the people on the beach have underlying health conditions, you may hazard a guess at what it is. For all its many faults, Shyamalan's film is consistently entertaining, if not always in the way the director intended. The actors struggle.

David Quinlan

USA 2021. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Kodak.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Jul 2021