On this day in horror history, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village with Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Adrien Brody was released in 2004.
The film was originally called The Woods but they changed the name because of Lucky McKee’s flick with Agnes Bruckner and Bruce Campbell.
The entire village was built in a field outside Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. An adjacent field contained an on-location temporary sound stage. Production started in October 2003 and wrapped up in mid-December.
The script was stolen soon after so, several lead actors returned to change to the film’s ending. SPOILERS. The original script ended with Howard climbing over the wall and meeting a truck driver, while in the final version, she meets a park ranger and returns to the village.
The film grossed $114M in the U.S., and $142M elsewhere for worldwide box office total of $256M. Not only that but composer James Newton Howard scored his fourth Oscar nomination for Best Original Score.
It centers on a community cut off from the outside world by the woods, in which they believe dangerous creatures exist. They have an uneasy truce with the creatures – if they stay out of the woods, they are left unharmed. When one of the villagers is attacked, another ignores the elders of the village to enters the woods to fetch medicine from the next town.
It stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Ivy Elizabeth Walker with Joaquin Phoenix as Lucius Hunt and Adrien Brody as Noah Percy. William Hurt co-stars as Edward Walker with Sigourney Weaver as Alice Hunt and Brendan Gleeson as August Nicholson. Other cast members include Cherry Jones, Judy Greer, Fran Kranz, Michael Pitt, Jesse Eisenberg, Charlie Hofheimer, and M. Night Shyamalan as Guard at Desk.
Rated PG-13 for a scene of violence and frightening situations, the underappreciated classic sports a 43% approval rating over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: The Village is appropriately creepy, but Shyamalan’s signature twist ending disappoints.