Whoa, M. Night Shyamalan's Old Was Shot In The Middle Of A Hurricane

Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff in Old
(Image credit: Universal )

Over the summer, M. Night Shyamalan took us on a peculiar vacation with his latest movie, Old. The thrilling horror film told the story of a group of people on holiday who come to learn that the beach they’ve been dropped on is causing them to age extremely quickly. Aside from the horrors of the story itself, the movie was far from a zen walk down the beach either given the conditions the production dealt with. 

As the season changes to fall and Old has come and gone from theaters, following its success at the box office, you can revisit M. Night Shyamalan’s twisted horror movie on 4K, Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD. Included in the bonus features for Old, M. Night Shyamalan shares the experience of shooting on a beach in the Dominican Republic with these words:  

We were shooting Old in the middle of the height of the pandemic and we were forced to shoot it in the hurricane season in the Caribbean. You can’t get insurance for COVID, you can’t get insurance for hurricanes, this is insanity going to go shoot, because at any moment it could be shut down by a hurricane, let alone COVID.

It sounds like conditions were intense on the set of Old, which M. Night Shyamalan independently financed for a reported $18 million. The movie was shot in less than two months in late 2020 when COVID-19 was surging all around the world. 

Aaron Pierre as Mid-Sized Sedan in Old

(Image credit: Universal)

The production had to take safety precautions to make sure no one would test positive for the coronavirus, like many other 2020 and 2021 movies. But then there’s the element of it also being hurricane season while they were in the Dominican Republic. Shyamalan continued to explain the situation:

We built a wall, and then the hurricane came. We just decided to build it again, but build back as far away as we could get from the water and as close to the trees to protect it.

By “wall,” he means the wall of rocks / massive cliff that is behind the cast for much of Old. The wall serves a major purpose to the film because it is a barrier for the vacationers that doesn’t allow them to leave the beach. As Shyamalan shared, at first the ocean washed away the massive wall they had built. They then had to start from scratch and rebuild it and a lot further back then they originally intended. Shyamalan also said this: 

The hurricane season kept on taking the beach away, eating the beach away. We had to become experts in the motion of water and how many joules of energy are in waves. We had to learn all of that to say, ‘Hey, at 2 p.m. we’re going to lose most of the beach as the high tide comes in’. There was no room for error at all, we shot this in a very specific amount of time and we literally did not have one more day. That’s how tight it was. The idea that we got to make this movie and tell this story was precious to us.

It’s an amazing story of resilience for the production and incredibly wild to hear the cast and crew were working against a literal hurricane. The Old production had to constantly pay attention to the ebbs and flows of the ocean to get each shot. Particularly because the movie takes place almost completely outdoors in the matter of a day, each day on set they had to time specific shots for certain times in the day. 

Check out the rest of the bonus features with a copy of the movie, now available to purchase (opens in new tab) on 4K, Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD on Amazon and in stores. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.