What Happened to M. Knight Shyamalan?

Since the last few minutes of the “twist” ending of The Village ticked on down, M. Knight Shyamalan’s career has been in an unrelenting downhill spiral.

The director whose status was on the level of iconic, after his release of The Sixth Sense in 1999, has now been lowered to laughable. No director has ever put out such quality work, only to follow it with utter garbage.

The Sixth Sense was one of the most creative, original, and downright scariest films I had ever seen. Everyone in my age group saw it, and we were all mesmerized by what a great movie, and twist ending it had. From then on out, fans would look forward to that signature Shyamalan twist.

Then came Unbreakable, which I did not care for, but in retrospect, it looks like a masterpiece compared to his last four films.

A personal favorite of mine is Signs, even though it was panned by the critics. Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix had great chemistry, and although it lacked action and a twist, I still found it entertaining. But then would come the film that marked the beginning of his downfall.

Like most, I could not wait for the release of The Village, and I found myself enjoying it halfheartedly up until the very end. The twist ending which he was known for was not what I, or anyone else, was expecting, nor did I find it fitting for the movie. I then had to go back and think about the rest of it, and I found the whole storyline simply stupid. The film was also a massive waste of talent, that saw small appearances by Joaquin Phoenix and Adrien Brody, though they were billed as major characters. The movie also contained William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver, another two whose talents were sucked up and spit out.

An actress who no one ever heard of, and one that annoys me to no end, Bryce Dallas Howard, then became the main character, whose major scenes entailed her walking through the forest as a blind woman, hitting trees with a stick. Just the thought of seeing her face makes me want to punch something.

If that was not bad enough, he then cast Howard in what I consider the worst and most boring movie ever made, Lady in the Water. I don’t know why I even saw it, to be honest. The premise was not interesting, and I already did not care for the actors. Nevertheless, I sat through it, counting down the minutes until I could run out of the theater. As bad as The Village was, there was at least a twist ending, but Lady in the Water had none of that– or maybe it did, I cannot really remember. I ran out of the theater so fast, no one would have even known I was in there.

Two years later, it seemed he would redeem himself with The Happening, which was advertised as “Shyamalan’s First R-Rated Film”. This was a big deal, as he never went over PG-13. The film also boasted some intense and “cool” death scenes, which ended up being the only worthwhile parts of the movie.

For 91 minutes of my life, which I will never get back, we watch Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel run around like a chicken without a head, being chased  by an invisible enemy, which we would later find out was chemicals released by angry plants. Yes, that’s right, angry planets. Need I go on?

I won’t even bother seeing The Last Air Bender, as I am not a fan of the fantasy genre. It currently holds a 4.3 rating on IMDB, so if I trust the voters, this one is no good either. It was also way out of his element, as every movie he had done before was written by himself, and an original idea. This film allowed him no chance at creativity, or a chance to place a twist ending.

He now has another movie coming out this September, called Devil, which he is not directing, just writing and producing. My friend, who saw Inception last week, said that during the coming attractions, when this film’s trailer was showed, people started laughing out loud when the voice-over announced, “From the mind of M. Knight Shyamalan.” This film’s synopsis is five people trapped in an elevator, with an apparent “evil” on-board. If the whole film takes place in that one room, I think I will have to shoot myself.

I plan on seeing this film, to see if he can reclaim his past glory. But this will be the last chance I give him, and if he cannot nail this, and ends up giving us another stale cookie like Lady in the Water, God help us, and RIP to his career.

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2 thoughts on “What Happened to M. Knight Shyamalan?

  1. moviewizguy

    Have you not seen Phonebooth, Saw, Open Water, Paranormal Activity, 12 Angry Men, Cube, Rec, Hard Candy and Lifeboat? Let’s not forget Buried, which is already getting critical acclaim. As you can see, I’m a huge supporter of “one setting” movies and just because a movie is limited to one setting doesn’t make it unbearable to watch.

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