It’s disingenuous to call M. Night Shyamalan a fluke. While his career has endured very strange turns, even the more awkward entries of his résumé retain some of his earlier promise as a filmmaker. Well, except for The Last Airbender. But we’ll get to that.
This week, I want to start looking at the guy I thought would be the next Alfred Hitchcock. I’ll start with a look at The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, the first two films that people associate the most with Shyamalan’s early work. (He actually made two films prior to this, one of which — Wide Awake — is currently streaming on Netflix.)
Next week, I’ll take a look at Signs and The Village, the last two films to carry the director’s former strengths, and that arguably mark the beginning of his decline. After that, I’ll spend a little time with the film that worries me the most: Lady in the Water. It had a strange affect on me the first time I saw it. Critics and audiences generally seemed to land … some place else. I’m curious to see what I think when I watch it again.
A brief post on The Happening will follow. I had written a review for that film for a contest when it was first released and haven’t bothered to revisit it since. I doubt I ever will. Then we’ll have a look at Devil, the first episode of “The Night Chronicles,” before diving into what might be Shyamalan’s greatest disappointment, The Last Airbender.
I’ll wrap everything up with a look back at Wide Awake, a small film that showed a young filmmaker’s early promise.