He made his name in 1999 with the hit movie The Sixth Sense. This is without a doubt the best movie of M. Night Shyamalan’s career. It was a brilliant movie, made a shitload of money at the box office and then there was that plot twist which was completely unexpected.
The problem is that this runaway success gave him an idea for a brand; something he could claim as his own. Shyamalan tries to go for that epic plot twist moment in every single movie he’s created since, except, due to his incredible ability to completely fuck up any script that he touches, the brand he’s tried to create for himself has backfired harder than your first car.
He completely foregoes any discernible story, instead relying on a plot twist every 5 minutes to keep the audience guessing and make them so confused that their brains cannot focus on how terrible the script really is. This leaves us with a string of promising films that end up trying way too hard before catastrophically derailing at the end.
Unfortunately for those of us who grew up with the original, M. Night Shylamalan is going to be directing the reboot of Tales from The Crypt. God help us all!
Lets take a look at some of his worst.
Signs was absolutely brilliant. By that I mean that the beginning was excellent… It was exciting, creepy and scary. I was genuinely on the edge of my seat right up until the batshit insane ending. I mean come on, aliens travel halfway across the universe to visit a planet that’s mostly covered in water only to be poisoned by water. Fucking water. Lets not even get into a discussion about the aliens who’ve mastered faster-than-light travel but haven’t developed communication methods more complex than stomping on wheat.
If you thought that water was bad, in The Happening, plants tried to kill us by poisoning the air for reasons perhaps only known to Mr Shyamalan himself. This was at a time when I still somewhat had faith in his abilities so thanks to the enticing trailers and marketing campaign, I paid money to go and see it in the cinema. Except it was so horrifically bad that its one of the only times in my life that I’ve actually got up and walked out of the cinema. Yep… this movie was more boring than Mark Whalberg and Zooey Deschanel looked during filming.
Whilst the cinematography in this film was great and there were some genuinely creepy moments the whole movie was let down once again by a lame plot twist. The ending didn’t do anything to add to the story. It was just a thing which happened for the sake of having a plot twist but didn’t actually change anything about the story which has just taken place.
The only thing worse than somebody getting the lead in a movie because of their parents is a director who allows it to happen. After Earth was nothing more than a vanity project and a vehicle for Will Smith to thrust his squeaky-voiced son Jaden into the spotlight. Unfortunately for the Jaden, the plot of the movie was on par with his acting ability; a boring and confusing mess.
The Last Airbender
I don’t even know where to start with this one. The Last Airbender is a movie which literally made me cry into my popcorn, not because of the story, but because of what he did to the story. He managed to take a sophisticated cartoon and reduce it to one of the most insultingly dumb films ever created, with characters about as deep as a puddle and a story about as cohesive as Charlie Sheen halfway through a week long cocaine bender. The script should have been torn up, set on fire, then buried at the garbage dump underneath a steaming pile of shit.
Lets give credit where credit is due. M. Night Shyamalan knows how to shoot a movie that looks pretty decent and he knows how to set a scene. But unfortunately, whilst he may be a good visual director, he is a terrible screenwriter and producer.
Give up on the bad plots and tacky gimmicks M. Night, otherwise you’ll forever be known as that guy who made The Sixth Sense.
Hopefully the next huge plot twist he makes is a good movie.