Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / The Village

Go To

  • The blind girl can see auras, and clearly uses them to identify people around her. Why didn't she see through the monster disguise in both occaisions?
    • She doesn't see everyone's. She says only some people give off an aura. Noah doesn't give one off, judging from when Ivy puts her coat in the closet and doesn't see him there.

  • Okay, this has been bothering me since I've seen the movie years ago (spoilers ahead). What was the freaking point of the "monster" chase scene? By that time, both Ivy and the audience, know that the monsters aren't real, so what was the point? To me that's one of the biggest failures of the movie, because the scene is well done and it would have been perfectly scary if we still believed in the monster story, so why the director put it AFTER the big revelation and not before? In addition, why was Ivy even scared if she knew the whole truth?
    • One of the major themes of the film revolves around what you risk when you choose to abandon something that has kept you safe: for the village elders, they gave up their modern lives to pursue a better one for their children, which left them open to diseases that modern medicine can easily cure. Ivy put aside her childhood fears so she could be brave enough to go into the woods, which left her vulnerable to everything else she might have encountered.
    • Advertisement:
    • she was blind and something was chasing her, why shouldn't she be scared?
      • I think that the point of that scene was to make the audience guess 'who' was the last creature before it is confirmed by Noah's parents finding the room empty. As Ivy's father said there was someone else involved but they didn't know who - the matter of the stock being slaughtered (watch again the flashback scene when Ivy's father explains all the ruse). In that last 'monster' scene the question is no long whether or not the creatures are real but 'who would profit from Ivy failing her mission?'.
    • Also, at this point in the film, we're still not sure the level of reality we're dealing with. We hear Mr. Walker in a VO saying, "There did exist rumors of creatures in these woods. It was in one of the history books I used to teach in the Towns." So we don't know for sure there isn't a creature living in the woods. And this scene takes place before the final reveal — that the Village doesn't exist in some past time, or in a supernatural realm. And the final thing is that until the "chaser" is revealed to be Noah, we don't know for sure that it is Noah. It could have been just about anyone, including Ivy's sister — who may still be resentful of Lucius's feelings toward Ivy — or one of the village elders who is determined to protect their way of life at all costs. Not until we see Noah at the bottom of the pit do we know that he is responsible for everything, including the animal mutilations and the marks on the doors.
      • This is likely the case. Since the audience is uncertain to the true setting and there is someone or something that mutilated the animals and painted the doors, both the possibility of a village elder or an actual monster attacking her would exist. A village elder knowing that she was blind would not have used a costume, leaving the audience consider that this might actually be a monster.
    • Advertisement:
    • Well, it is true that you don't easily shake off a fear that has been drilled into you from the day you were born.

  • Why were drugs kept in a thin, glass case?
    • Because the Walker Preserve is, by implication, isolated, patrolled, and difficult to get into. Not much security needed.
    • That "glass case" was probably a fridge. Most medication must be refrigerated when it's stored.

  • Why not say "the woods are filled with wild animals," rather than creating an absurd conspiracy involving monsters?
    • Wild animals can be warded off or killed, and they wouldn't give the elders the sort of insane authority they had to arbitrarily forbid things the monsters didn't like.

  • How would elders explain the consistent presence of supplies and food, since they had deemed importation impossible?
    • The food's not an issue, as they were clearly farming it themselves. Supplies? They probably cherry-picked the technology they employed to be extremely long-lasting and easy to repair by hand.

  • Why was Noah killed by just falling into a 3" pit?
    • Wasn't there spikes jutting out the bottom of it? And it was more like 6".
    • The costume had bony spines on the back. One of them could have easily been pushed through a vital organ when he landed.

  • Why did they not create consistent settings? Their village had medieval huts, Victorian gaslamps and Renaissance era rules.
    • The elders wanted to create a culture that was simple, peaceful and livable, not a historical replica.
    • Why would they need consistency? The whole point is that no one would leave the place.
    • The "medieval" huts were simply the kind of rough structures that would be used by poor residents of a backwater 19th century community, or as outbuildings for tools and animals. And the "gaslamps" were oil lamps and lanterns; the only reason they didn't flicker was that their flues blocked air currents from disturbing them.

  • How would a completely insular town, only using the outside world for supplies, survive? A single disease could completely destroy it. Inbreeding is inevitable as the citizens become consistently less diverse and families intersect.
    • I seriously doubt the Elders had expected the Village to go undetected for as long as it did, let alone long enough for inbreeding to be a concern.

  • Why would the government allow this insane plan? It is essentially treason, as the town has annexed itself and ignores state or federal law. What stupid, lazy writing.
    • Who says the government was ever told what they were up to?
    • If the government knew about it, it probably wouldn't be allowed. The Village is essentially a cult using the fear of monsters to keep some of its inhabitants from leaving "for their own good."
    • Seriously, in a post-Heaven's Gate, a post-Waco, a Post-9/11 world NO local or federal authorities thought to investigate a group of people mysterious missing for nearly 30 years and also a reserve that is purposely kept isolated from the rest of the world?
      • It could be done, depending on how they carried it out. Lots of people go missing in the US every day; some do so voluntarily. As it isn't against the law to go missing, the authorities have the attitude that, if an adult wants to disappear (and he isn't a fugitive or something), let him, and they will only get involved if there is evidence of foul play. The "elders" could have simply given notice at their jobs, canceled their leases or sold their houses without leaving a forwarding address, or done other things that indicated that they were voluntarily disappearing. Some of the pitfalls that lead to voluntarily missing people being found, such as forged papers or phony Social Security numbers (which are illegal), clearly wouldn't apply here. Moreover, it could have been that the Elders staggered their disappearance, so as to decrease suspicion. Additionally, the Elders have been missing for decades, well before Waco, 9/11, or anything else like that happened. The Elders' case files, if any had existed, would have gone cold by that time, and no one would think to re-open them just because a completely unrelated incident just happened in another state.
      • Why would they have to be "missing"? There are isolationist religious sects all over the States that are effectively autonomous apart from criminal investigations (I'm writing this less than 15 miles away from one). So long as somebody was paying taxes on the land and they were never suspected of sedition or violent crime, no one would bother them. For all we know, the local government and townspeople were aware of the whole thing.

  • How did this village maintain the illusion of being in the past given that aircraft flying overhead is a fairly common occurrence?
    • This is actually addressed in the movie. Walker managed to get the park declared a no-fly zone.
    • I don't know how easy/difficult it would be to bribe someone to get a place designated as a no-fly zone, but I think it's easier post-9/11 to get something designated as a no-fly zone legitimately. Disneyland is now a no-fly zone because it's supposedly a risk for terrorist attacks, but Legoland is not.
    • I thought it was because they'd had the land declared a protected wildlife reserve. There really are places where planes aren't allowed to fly over, because they're breeding grounds for endangered species which would be disturbed by the noise.
    • No-fly zones do not apply to satellites or other spacecraft. Google Earth would have eventually outed the Village. For that matter, a random astronaut or cosmonaut looking out the window of his spacecraft would have noticed the anomaly of a town in the United States not connected to any other by so much as an unimproved dirt path.
    • Am I wrong or isn't that the Chinese Great Wall is the only man-made thing that you can see from space and an astronaut hardly would be able to see an small town made of wood? I know they have telescopes but they'll have to be looking for something very specific in a very specific area to spot the town, same case with Google Earth.
      • Judging by the attire in the pre-village photo, Google Earth didn't exist when the village was started so the elders would probably not consider private citizens being able to use satellites to pinpoint the location of the village. Also, an astronaut or cosmonaut would not see the couple of specks on Earth that are the buildings, and they probably don't have an expansive knowledge of nature preserve locations and what buildings should or should not be there.
      • Even if somebody did spot some houses on a satellite image where there's no town on the map, there'd be no reason to think it's anything but a normal community that's been abandoned for decades. There are hundreds of old ghost towns scattered across North America, that dried up when the local mine or factory went bust or the interstate highway system overlooked them.
    • Why exactly were they pretending to be in the past in the first place? It's not like the children had some kind of intrinsic knowledge of what the 1800s were supposed to be like, to say nothing of later centuries. The whole idea is like a sociological version of Meanwhile, in the Future…, or Evolutionary Levels for civilizations. The villagers could have ditched any idea of following exactly along with any past society (I mean, what would they do when their village caught up to the years they didn't like?) and just created a social construct that included everything they wanted, explained airplanes, and discouraged people from leaving. The false year and more direct analogy to "simpler times" were clearly attached for the audience's dubious benefit in selling the pre-twist perception, hence the date being established by an in-context tombstone instead of an on-screen dateline.
      • For the audience, probably. If it were set in the present, we would have asked "why not use the radio or mobile phones to call in the police" - or even "where are all the tellies". Mobile phones are a huge huge problem for every horror plot!
    • They probably thought the airplanes were flying monsters. They believed in walking monsters, why not big flying ones that roar through the sky, and just happen to be shiny?
      • They don't see airplanes cause is a no-fly zone.
    • "What kind of bird is that, Papa?" "That's a Greater Boeing's Spitting Eagle, dear. See how its spittle leaves a streak of cloud behind it? Truly one of Nature's odder creatures, but nothing of import."
    • Here's the thing; even professional actors find easier to play papers they're familiar with. It's one of the thing people advise you in drama class; use something you know, use experiences of your own life when making the character. If someone is playing a man who lost his wife and you the closest thing you have is your grandma's death when you were 8, use it. So, for non-professional actors it will be even harder to keep a masquerade in a time they're not familiar with and/or is completely invented.

  • If you want to live in an isolated community, why bother with all this nonsense with the monsters? Why not just buy an island and build your commune there, surrounded by a thousand miles of ocean?
    • Willing Suspension of Disbelief in the name of Rule of Drama
    • Believe it or not, the movie is more believable than the island idea. You would be hard-pressed to find an island that you could scare away all the ships in international waters. Where there's one island, there's more. And any island on Earth in a temperate/tropical zone and large enough to maintain a community on already has a community on it.
      • Not to mention it's easier to set up a ring of boundary posts and maintain a phony watch over it than to comb all the telltale plastic trash off the beaches that'd wash up from the tide.
    • The monsters also allowed for a direct reason for any morals the Elders wanted to enact. If anyone acted in an unsavory fashion, the would just have the monsters make their presence known and mark that person's house or something akin to that.

  • Why does such a tiny ranger station require such a large cache of medical supplies? They certainly didn't need a whole refrigerator full of medicine!
    • Maybe they had a lot of different antivenins, antidotes, and antibiotics for people who might have been hiking in the non-Village part of the reserve, because there are poisonous snakes and berries in the region and they are being kept there specifically so that hikers don't need to go all the way to a city as many as several hours away on the highway in the event of encountering poison, venom, or injury?
    • Alternatively: the rangers, as employees of the reserve, are in on the scheme. The medical supplies are kept as a last-ditch resort (as seen in the movie). The corporation managing the reserve may be a front by which the Elders obtain supplies they can't easily make themselves (like kerosene for lamps, glass, etc.); occasionally an Elder or group of Elders makes a trip to 'the towns' (the ranger stations) to pick up supplies with the rest of the Village being none the wiser.
      • Alternative to that: The rangers do dead drops of supplies so no one has to leave the village.
      • That explanation completely fails with the actual course the movie took. If they were in on the scheme and kept the medicine there for the residents, then literally ANY ELDER would have gone to get them, not the blind girl that has no idea they are even there. In order for the blind girl to be the one to get help, there can't be any actual communication between the village and the rangers.
    • We don't see enough of the wildlife reserve to know how large it is, or if the whole extent of it is off-limits. Possibly there's a restricted portion where the Village is and a non-restricted portion where vacationers might need medical attention.

  • How are they covering for all that glassware (mostly used for lighting, particularly conspicuous in the lighted area at the edge of the forest)? The glass is clearly modern glass, since it's completely clear, not with the slight blue-green tint that utility-grade glass used for things like storage jars in the real 19th century had. The long shots of the settlement show nothing that could possibly be a glassworks to produce any, and there's no sign of any source of suitable materials to make glass from anyway. Similarly, the lamps (which are used copiously in homes as well as outside) would burn vast quantities of fuel and there's no way to produce that much with their level of technology. From what we can see, it's a transparent fluid, which makes it either an oil or alcohol. The quantities involved are too large to be managed on a non-industrial scale, but there's no building even large enough to be a refining center for the fuel, let alone there being enough oil seeds or fermentables to serve as feedstocks.
    • Glasswork is easy enough to explain away: nobody in the village not of the original set knows anything about modern glass. Until and unless they actually have to replace glass with glass made in the village, none would know the difference. Keeping them supplied with oil is a different matter.

  • Why would the elders choose the late 1800s as their target date if they were seeking a "more innocent time"? A lot of the late Victorian period is pretty recognizable to late 20th century eyes - it was early days of mass media; there were concerns about terrorism and immigration; increasing social upheaval due to the coming Modernist movement in art, literature, and music, and not to mention feminism and growing class stratification; rapid technological advances thanks to the Industrial Revolution; more and more people moving to cities. . . If they really wanted a simple agrarian society they should have gone back to the colonial era.
    • Why would they bother? They had no reason to care what social upheavals or industrial advances were going on in the era which their village superficially resembled. They weren't historical recreationists trying to evoke a particular time—just people who blamed the modern world for their personal tragedies and wanted to escape their pain. They kept the tech level just low enough that they never had to contact the outside world; after that, what "era" they picked was arbitrary. They may have gotten their initial batches of clothes and equipment from companies who supply the plain sect (Amish or Mennonite) communities, and then just stuck with that "look" because it was useful, and appealed to them on a nostalgic level.
      • But then why pretend to live in the past at all? If the village elders aren't bothered about the fact their village is an Anachronism Stew — presumably because they don't expect any of the younger generation to ever uncover the deception anyway — then why change the calendar year to start with? If it's just for symbolic value, then the original troper's question still applies (what gives the Victorian era such symbolic value)?
      • Because that was the era which the lead Elders who came up with the idea were most interested in, and knew the most about.

  • If yellow is the "safe color" why doesn't the village use it more often? Maybe paint some walls it, or regularly use it in clothing or something? Sure, it doesn't actually do anything, but surely someone other than the few people in the know would at some point think of liberally using the thing that they think keeps them safe?
    • They can't make synthetic paints, and since the houses are wooden, that's what they would need. Yellow dyes would be more accessible, but the Elders are strongly invested in keeping people out of the woods and their primary tool for that is fear. If they let people go around casually wearing yellow talismans, eventually somebody would get bold enough to go into them, or worse, they'd experience some misfortune when no one was looking and realize that the "safe color" is complete BS.
    • It seems that the "safe colour" is a lot like the white flag in combat. You wave it only when you're surrendering to the enemy. You don't walk around waving it on the battlefield to stop the enemy from attacking you. Those We Don't Speak Of are known as unpredictable, so in the minds of the villagers - if they abuse the safe colour privilege then the creatures might become more violent. In the film it seems more as if yellow is only worn by the guards at the border - as an indicator that they're just standing at their post with no ill intentions.

  • What do the people dressed as the monsters do if they actually catch up with someone? One heads right for Ivy, so we know they don't just take care to make sure they never actually get near anyone. They have to do something or else there'd be no reason to continue being so afraid of them, but it seems extremely unlikely the people pulling off the ruse would be willing to do anything really serious to anyone (considering avoiding violence was supposed to be the whole point).
    • Here's the thing: note how Kitty and Ivy are watching the children that night, with no sign of the parents. That means they are the ones specifically wearing the costumes. So they know that Ivy is blind and so they'd have to get closer to her to let her know there. Plus whoever it was probably moved fast because they could see Lucius coming and knew he would help Ivy. When it's not Ivy they're attacking, they presumably just keep their distance.

  • Ivy has Aura Vision and she implies that everyone has a unique color. How didn't she recognize the monster?
    • Ivy actually says that only some people she knows give off a colour. Noah is not one of those - she mentions her father and Lucius when she is telling him about it. Noah is there while she is talking about this, so if he gave off a colour, she would have referred to him too. This is foreshadowed when Noah is hiding in the closet and she doesn't know he's there. So she doesn't recognise the monsters because the people under the costumes aren't those who have colours.
    • Or it might just be hard for her to see the colour while they're hiding under a costume. It covers the entire body.
      • Or when she is scared as sh**t.

  • In the time period the village based itself on, wood was an incredibly important resource that was harvested almost constantly. But they're not allowed in the woods. If it was "don't go in the woods at night," I could understand it, but they can't go in them at all. So how do they survive the winter when they can't go in the woods to get firewood? Or cook their food, or make new houses or tools?
    • When Ivy goes through the town, she says she's holding "the magic rocks" that means Those We Don't Speak Of won't touch them. Maybe that's an excuse the Elders have used before to get wood.
    • The young men with Ivy mention that they'd never heard of the "magic rocks" before. Presumably they're something the Elders dreamed up on the spot to give Ivy's companions courage, not an established part of the village's "lore" about avoiding the monsters. When the villagers need wood, they take it from smaller stands of trees inside the established boundaries.

  • So the village founders wanted to get away from a corrupt modern society, I get it. But why couldn't they take medicine with them? I know it was the seventies, but iirc Lucius didn't need anything fancy, just a simple antibiotic. They couldn't have taken some of those with them? Especially since, as pointed out above, a small isolated village would be very vulnerable to disease.
    • They probably thought it would create more problems than solutions. Some medicines need to be refrigerated, and that would put a damper in their "No-modern-technology" philosophy, they would need a refrigerator and electricity to make it work. Second, some medicines do have an expiration date, and are also finite resources. They can't be locally produced so *someone* would have to venture into "the towns" to refresh their supply. And that would seriously undermine the rule of never leaving the town, since even if only the elders were going to get them, eventually someone would figure "If they can go out there and survive, I can too". And it's not like they could secretly replace the medicines, as anyone could put two and two together and reason that a single pack of pills could not possibly last that long. They are brainwashed, not stupid.
    • It's also pretty clear that the Elders are willing to accept leaving a trail of bodies for their ideals. Ivy and Noah's medical problems are mentioned to be things they think could have been prevented with childhood treatment, and they've sat and watched their children die of preventable causes in the past. They're fanatics who only acted this time because their hand was forced.
    • Possibly they did bring seedlings of whatever medicinal plants they expected to be able to cultivate in the village; they just couldn't bring the right plants to save Lucius from his wound, Ivy from blindness, or Noah from his mental disorder.

  • If the Village Founders wanted to live in a simpler, more pure time, away from Modern Technology and things of that nature, why even allow anyone to try to get Medicine? The monster was never intentionally meant to kill anyone, just keep them in the village, but by allowing people to try to go through the woods to find a settlement with supplies they risk those people either never coming back or revealing the whole truth to those who don't know it. If anything, a society like theirs should rely on holistic remedies and folk rituals, not Modern Medicine.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: