Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody, William Hurt Director: M. Night Shyamalan The film: It says much about what we have to view today that even when director M. Night Shyamalan turns out something as messy as The Village, it's still more interesting than most of dross that's out there. And The Village really is a mess. The pity of it all is that the premise of the film is so intriguing, but you're left hoping for so much more. As is his trademark - through the likes of The Sixth Sense and Signs - Shyamalan lays traps for his audience. He dares us to figure out what exactly is going on. And then he turns everything on its ear (and, presumably, sits back smiling). This time around, the story takes us into a rural village where a bunch of semi-religious types live under a strange kind of truce with the dark beasties who lurk just beyond their borders. Young Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) will have none of that, though, and desperately wants to find out what's out there. When he begins to do so, these 'creatures' become more and more miffed and things turn nasty. There's blood on the doors and livestock begin to explode all over the place. But just when things get interesting, Shyamalan takes his foot off the gas. Instead of us being led further into the mystery, it becomes all too easy to work out - and, saddest of all, it's not that interesting, either. If you haven't seen it, there's no way anything more can be said without spoiling the fun. Thankfully, the film introduces Bryce Dallas Howard to the world (Ron Howard's daughter, below), who steals every scene she is in, and the brilliant Adrien Brody makes one of cinema's great gimps. The extras: Sadly, Shyamalan doesn't really play ball when it comes to DVD releases - hence, no commentary track from the director. And that might have cleared a few things up. Instead, we get a featurette that tackles all aspects of the filmmaking process, a few deleted scenes, one of the director's home movies and - saving the day - more of Howard. She talks for a few minutes about how she found it entering the world of feature films. The verdict: Notable more for what it might have been, than for what it is.