M. Fright Shyamalan? Not Today.

The director best known for "Sixth Sense" has a new movie out, "The Happening". This movie stars Mark Wahlberg and is "a paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity" (imdb.com).

Now, I am reserving judgement about this movie until I go and see it, which I will, probably this weekend. However, I do want to talk about the downward spiral that is M. Night Shyamalan. Here is my question...how in the world does someone go from the "Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" to "Signs", "The Village", and "Lady in the Water"(which I didn't actually see, but I'm not holding back on. A story about a mystical creature starring Paul Giamatti? Come on!)

The Sixth Sense is very widely known and liked, and I did like that movie. I thought it was very well done and I was actually surprised at the end. Unbreakable, however, is my favorite movie of his, and one of my favorite movies in general. Don't get me wrong, it's not in the top 10 or anything, but I really like the twist he put on Superheroes. It wasn't about some buff spandex wearing save-the-world-with-my-good-looks guy, nor was it about a punk, bad-ass who's attitude problem is only a result of the fact that he is vastly misunderstood. No, this is a story about a regular guy, who had lived a regular life and was finding out that he had some supernatural power. All in all, it was an interesting story, well played, well written, and I liked it a lot.

It's been 8 years now since Unbreakable came out, and 9 since the Sixth Sense. What happened to this man? Every other movie he has made has been a flaming pile of crap. What happened to the excitement? To the twists in the plot? What happened to sitting there at the end of the movie and honestly being able to say "I enjoyed that".

Again, his movies have never been my idea of "classic", but nonetheless I enjoyed them. And now, here we are, after having seen a rather pointless movie about aliens where in at the end of the movie they are shown looking quite disappointing. After a movie about a community that scares its people into a technologically retarded world by making them believe that a monster will get them if they try to leave, only to find out that the monster is none other than one of the townsfolk, in the middle of the movie no less. Yea, try and stay awake for the rest of that movie knowing that the plot for the movie was completely torn to shreds. Newsflash: you can't decide to change the plot of the movie halfway through the movie, especially after advertising it as a monster flick. And now what? The rest of the time she's trying to find a flower to heal her boyfriend? WHAT?!

Did I confuse you in the process of explaining it? If I did, believe me, it is not at all confusing, rather it is relentlessly redundant and boring.

The question is...should movie fans keep holding out for another worthwhile movie from Shyamalan? I want to. I want to believe that he can have a good comeback, that he will be able to throw a twist in there that I didn't see coming, that I won't feel like I wasted ten dollars....but it's been 8 years.


Bern said...

The only problem I have with Shamalamalan is that all his movies, good or not, are elongated "Twilight Zone" episodes. He abuses his audience to no end with his forever long pans (pans that would make a 70's movie look quick cut and exciting). PLUS! He gets the absolute worst performances out of his actors. Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson with absolutely NO memorable lines? WHAAA? Anyway. I'm done ranting now. I was never a convert, and now I'm getting smug. Feel free to punch me. Your stance is much nobler. -Bern

Anonymous said...

YES! I totally agree! Shyamalan is a One Trick Pony! "6th Sense" was unbelievably poignant! Night completely pierced me with that ending! I was utterly shocked and cried a whole Kleenex box of tears. I tried to like "Signs" what with Mel and Joichim and all...but the aliens were laughable and the whole ending was just so trite! "Village" -painfully awful! And I purposely ignored the rest! What a waste of time & talent!