Thursday, February 26, 2009

M. Knight Shyamalan Redeem Yourself

We all fell in love with you the moment we got up from our seats after viewing "Sixth Sense." We were intrigued by you when you came out with something original for the comic book freaks, "Unbreakable." We were in absolute terror during "Signs" when the brother was watching TV and saw the home video a family had taken of the alien just as it would have looked on CNN had it happened here and now to us. It didn't seem like the honeymoon would ever end.

But, then like that seven-year itch...we got restless. You brought us "The Village" and we wanted so much to be scared. We tried so hard. We waited for the monster only to find it was not a horror movie but a psychological thriller. We didn't ask for our money back, we walked away trying to defend you still. "But the scenery was lush, the colors poignant, the use of red..."

We waited hopefully for you to get back on the path. You were our Hitchcock of the new milenium. You had all the right abilities and talents, insight and creativity. You just needed to remember who you are.

Then, you got Alzheimers and presented us with "Lady in the Water," a fairy tale for your children. Still, I admit I left the theater defending you vehemently. "The characters were amazing. I'll see it again just to see them. He has the ensemble thing down great!" He just hasn't figured out that he's a horror movie maker yet!
Deflated, wounded, and feeling forgotten, I moped. It's like having your favorite metal band go pop. You sold out. You didn't even sell out for popularity. You apparently just tossed your hat in the air and how it landed decided what you'd do next. There was no rhyme or reason.

Years went by and the scars were turning from pink to white now and the memory of what could have been no longer haunted me. In fact, I found other horror movie makers to follow. I fell in love with "Dead Silence" and "Dawn of the Dead." There was hope, but still not the same. M. Knight was a classic, like a little black dress, always something you could count on. Well, in his heydey.

Friends tried to shake me back to life by presenting me with the new plot line for "The Happening." This, they swore, was going to be just like "Signs" (which by the way to me was one of the milepost I judge other movie plots and characters, themes and tension--although I still make excuses for the hokey alien that we had to see full-frontal at the end--I sort of blank that out so M. Knight can still be my hero).

So, I plodded on to the theater and bought my ticket, telling myself I didn't need the $9 anyways. I sat down, got lost in the trailers (don't you always forget what movie you came to see after watching those?) I knew it was rated "R," which gave me hope that it would actually be scary. Could M. Knight handle realistic gore? I still remember that awful animated alien... I bite my lip and shut up and listen very carefully and a tale unwinds. It isn't heavy on the messages, but it's beautiful to watch. M. Knight sure has the mind of a cinematographer. I nod now and then to my son. He nods back. Don't know if we're trying to convince ourselves, but when it's all said and done we think he's very good at giving "R." We don't know yet if he knows how to scare us anymore. I was more afraid of the people in the movie than the wind. Still, it's definitely a step above "Lady in the Water" and "The Village."

M. Knight, I propose that you redeem yourself. Make a movie no one dares to make. You like to deal with humanity and our weaknesses and our egocentric behavior, take on Bigfoot. Do a movie about the Sasquatch. Not one that's been done yet. Do one that asks the ultimate question of whether he is human or not? Does he have rights? Why do we fear him? Only you could handle a theme like that like a fine violinist. If you're knocking around ideas for the next flop, change your mind and do something like "Signs." Live up to your potential. You asked us "do you believe in signs?" Now, ask us, "does intelligence constitute being human?"

Redeem yourself. It's never to late to make us forget your flubs. Look at Britney Spears, most everyone is thinking about her new album and not her buzz cut.


  1. Thanks for posting a picture of my favorite bigfoot, Harry Henderson. I have to agree with you on all of it. I loved the Sixth Sense especially the surpise ending. It seems like his movies got steadily worst. I never paid money to see them, I just waited to they came on cable and glad I didn't. After reading Mikes review on "The Happening" (, I'm very glad I missed that one. I'm also hoping that he gets out of this slump and write us a great one to watch.

  2. Julie; I can just hope he surfs the blogs for his name. Hee hee. I know he got the plot for "The Happening" from a friend who was talking about what happened to honey bees and the theories behind their disappearance. That's how you get a great idea--but he must remember he's a horror king, at least he was... p.s. The Happening was actually worth watching for the human aspects of it. He has people's psyches figured out and how they act in situations and how bad times bring people together. It was very creepy, but mostly for the old lady at the end of the story, well played by that lady from "Eight is Enough" who played "Abby." Didn't even recognize her at first--she kind of dropped off the earthy the past 30 years. She should have gotten recognition for playing a fantastic part in a horrible movie--maybe we can design an award for such things. What would we call them? Not Razzies (been used), maybe "Diamond in the Rough"

  3. Loved the blog! I too am (or once was??) a HUGE fan of M. Night! The Sixth Sense ranks to this day as my favorite thriller of all time! It was an amazing ghost tale, and the characters were incredible! The twist ending, at the time, was something we had never seen before. Everything about that film was genius and highly original!

    I was also a huge fan of Unbreakable and Signs. Signs to me, is the second best thriller ever made!

    M. Night is the new MASTER of suspense, or at least he was. When The Village came out, I was so dissapointed! You know I actually loved the movie up until everything was revealed to us. The story was beautiful and the acting was amazing...then the big "twists" started to happen and I felt cheated and let down. I now consider The Village one of the worst thrillers ever made!

    I enjoyed Lady in the Water. It was different, nothing incredible, but unique. A good story, good characters, great lead performance from Paul Giammati. But it did leave me feeling a big empty at the end.

    And then the Happening came. Ugh, I absolutely despised that movie. It to me, was M. Nights worst. I actually found the "message" of the movie to be a little corny. The acting was atrocious (Mark Whalberg has an Oscar nomination for Pete's sake, what was wrong with him here!?). I had to rank this film as one of the worst of 2008.

    I pray that M. Night has learned his lesson by now. I pray he comes back in full gear and goes back to that supernatural thriller he mastered years ago! That is where he shines! He does have 2 Oscar noms under his belt for the Sixth Sense...maybe that should be a clue to him.

    Sadly his next film is nothing of the sorts, he's doing some Avatar movie (based off the cartoon) we will have to wait even longer.


  4. You know,I've come to the conclusion that M. Knight doesn't give a fig what viewers think. He's a bit manic and easily distracted by shiny objects. I don't know why he couldn't focus enough to pump out more along the lines of Signs and Sixth Sense with suspense being the big attraction. All I have to say is, whatever mindset he was in at the time he made those movies...please revisit that space in your head again, dude!

  5. Omigawd, Autumn, all these years I've mistakenly thought that the M. Night Shyamalan film, SIGNS, a T-shirt from which I still, from time to time, proudly sport, was a Mel Gibson directed outing. Ooof! I'd've flunked my video store clerk course, now DVD, now Blue Ray™, now subdermal chip... JK! ...I hope. Nice article.

    Stay curious, Autumn,
    Anadæ Effro ( :-)}

    P.S. ~ In the synchrosphere, some of us track out captcha's as though they were significant somehow. Mine for this one? Giest, a misspelling of geist, Deutsch for ghost! How ya like me now? LOL!

  6. i as well have been waiting for him to return to the days of sixth sense and unbreakable (sixth sense, for me, was his very best). although, i really did enjoy lady in the water. it seems to be one of those movies people either couldn't stand or loved. signs i thought was contrived and predictable--i was not scared watching this. the village was a letdown. the happening, i'm split on that. but yeah, overall, i too would like to see him crank it up again.