M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village one could say is all about boundaries, both literally and figuratively. Taking place in the rural amish-like village of Convington, a small isolated town deep in Pennsylvania, all is peaceful except for one thing: they can’t leave. Confined to the borders of their tiny village by creatures that live in the adjacent woods, going into the main town for any reason is forbidden for fear of enraging the monsters on the other side.
After living a lifetime of engrained fear and paranoia, the blind Ivy Walker is faced with the choice to of going into the village in order to retrieve medicine to save her lovers life. But what is more dangerous the creatures, or living under years of consuming paranoia of crossing the boundaries of her village? In this scene we follow Ivy alone into the forest, the camera pans in an all-encompassing motion, spinning in a frantic manner and is concise only when stopping abruptly to focus on her. The significance of the blurred camera sweep and sudden focus on Ivy increases our awareness that she is truly all alone.
In this particular clip, and throughout the entire film Shyamalan uses color to manufacture a world of paranoia within itself. Ivy travels in the forest adorned in a robe of “the good color”. Though we can see that the color is actually yellow, the name of the color is never specifically addressed in the film and is only reflected upon as the “safe” color. In contrast to the “good color” Shyamalan has constructed a symbol of fear and wide spread disturbance through his invention of “the bad color”. Just as the color yellow, “the bad color” is never actually addressed to be the color red, yet through our own Western definition of the color wheel we can identify it as such. “The bad color” is representative of the creatures. It is a warning color. The berries in the woods for example “attract the creatures” because they are “the bad color” Shyamalan creates his own index of terms, and a color to the villagers takes on a world of its own. The gloomy and colorless woods that expand around Ivy create the setting for the ultimate moment of paranoia for us as viewers. We see Ivy flailing around blindly in a shot of her running through the woods panicking. The camera pans up upon her shadow light face, a close up of her fear driven flailing. Then, the camera instantly pans, and all we can see is a shot of Ivy solitary in a huge sea of red berries. This increases our paranoia as viewers as we know that Ivy is blind and almost helpless as she stands in a vast expanse of red berries, while at the same time increases Ivy’s own paranoia going as we can see is instantaneously deeply troubled.
Thematically, M. Night Shyamalan’s movie is based off of the paranoia within a town of displaced people. The town is made up of people who are afraid and worried that the outside world will not accept them. This paranoia has inspired a couple generations of brainwashing the younger members of the town to be highly on edge about leaving the village, and the “creatures” that lurk outside. The widespread cultural fear has permeated into a day-to-day paranoia of doing simple tasks, of seeing the color red, of stepping one toe outside of the town. And Shyamalan skillfully translates into a horror movie.