M. Night Shyamalan may be the most overrated mainstream filmmaker working today, and The Village is an instant contender for worst film of the year. As usual, the over-hyped filmmaker uses his trademark directorial flourishes – long, unbroken tracking shots, a focus on lame dialogue (here, not a single contraction!) over action, an ominous sense of foreboding – to tell the thoroughly tedious Our Town-ish tale of a 19th-century town sharing an uneasy truce with monsters (a.k.a. Those Who Shall Not Be Named) living in the surrounding woods. Shyamalan spends the first hour concentrating on the love lives and general happiness of the townsfolk, but since the director is just building up to yet another idiotic surprise ending, it’s hard to care about situations that have been designed only to obscure the ultimate twist. No shock that the conclusion is mind-bogglingly disappointing and deflating, but what’s truly disheartening is the film’s pervasive predictability and pomposity. An all-star cast featuring Joaquin Phoenix, William Hurt, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson and newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard must have been forced at gunpoint to participate in this nonsense; how else to explain all these fine actors wasting their talent on a painfully naïve story about the ills of the modern world? The only thing that would drive me to live in such a secluded Amish village is the threat of having to watch this fiasco again.