M. Night Shyamalan’s career has experienced some of the most aggressive ups and downs of any filmmaker in history. Kicking off his career with a six-time Oscar nominee and the second-highest grossing movie of the year, things looked as bright for Shyamalan as they did for Spielberg when Jaws was released. Following The sixth Sense With two other hits, both critical and commercial, he was practically guaranteed a place in film history, with Roger Ebert calling him a “born filmmaker”.
Of course, everyone knows what happened next. Shyamalan launched a series of critical flops, his box office magic faded, and he became known more as a cautionary tale than as the man who created one of the greatest horror films of all time. In recent years, his fortune has changed, however, and he managed to regain his original spark a bit with The visit and, to a much greater extent, Pull apart. With his next movie Old, Shyamalan has a chance to permanently turn the tide in his favor, assuming he doesn’t fall back on old habits.
10 No end of turn
At this point, the filmmaker’s most clichéd criticism would be to complain about his insistence on the use of twisted endings. Perhaps creating one of the most memorable twisted endings of all time with The sixth Sense It left him determined to surpass himself, to average results.
While including a twisted ending wouldn’t be a killer, audiences and critics just don’t want another movie to be created solely around a twisted ending, like The village. Sometimes it’s okay to dazzle your audience with what has already been established in a story and not rip the rug out of them just because it’s easy to do.
9 Realistic dialogue
One of the most glaring fundamental problems that critics began to notice with Shyamalan’s work was his dialogue, often stiff and strangely peculiar. What at first seemed like an intelligent and discreet writing choice, began to seem to someone who did not know how people speak.
There is no better example than in The event, where, through a mix of bad dialogue and confusing directions, it’s almost impossible to tell if each character’s lines are supposed to have a dramatic or comedic effect, even if it was intentional.
8 Focused script
A major problem with his recent work has been what appears to be an unfocused and cluttered narrative, miles away from the walled and tightly constructed stories for which he was known.
With movies like The last Airbender Y Glass, It seemed like the filmmaker didn’t know how to scale back and instead skipped moments that would have been important and retained many wasted scenes that only serve to inflate the movies.
7 Good cinematography
Shyamalan has always had a keen eye for the visual, whether he’s filming a dialogue scene in the reflection of a television or just holding an open space for longer than expected. This hasn’t really changed over the years as it still manages to create some beautiful images. While he’s had some slip-ups and relies too much on a single take, cinematography isn’t something fans need to worry about in his next movie.
6 Sensible casting
Casting has been one of Shyamalan’s biggest problems throughout his career. Starting by presenting yourself in a pivotal role in Lady in the water and then with all his casting of The last Airbender which was highly criticized, it is an important aspect of his films that is generally very unpredictable.
The good news is that his new movie, Old, stars both Phantom threadVicky Krieps and Hereditary Alex Wolff, both acclaimed actors who should be more than capable of delivering solid performances as long as the dialogue is good.
5 Good scares
Another thing that Shyamalan hasn’t really failed with, almost all of his work has included a couple of quality scares, created through patience and not simply by having something ugly jump out at the audience. OldThe sinister trailer gives a good indication that this new movie should include a couple of spooky moments, something Shyamalan should be well equipped to offer.
4 Creative character design
While it’s hard to guess what exactly might happen in his next movie, the trailer’s tone gives an idea that some pretty terrifying body transformations could appear. With amazing designs of The village and even to a certain extent Lady in the water under his belt, it’s safe to say that if the movie is dubbed more supernatural, Shyamalan will be in his element.
3 Emotional resonance
This has been a problem with the filmmaker’s scripts since The village entered theaters. While he pays very detailed attention to world-building and creating impactful imagery in his films, he seems indifferent to creating stories that, once finished, do something emotionally to his audience.
What Old needs is for Shyamalan to return to his The sixth Sense roots and create a terrifying and exciting horror movie but with a real emotional core.
two Autonomous history
This is less of a problem for Shyamalan himself and more for the industry as a whole. As everyone knows, sequels, prequels, and extended universes are everywhere, and it was only a matter of time until Shyamalan got a piece of the action with his rumored Unbreakable Serie.
While it ended on a critical thud, hopefully the series got that momentum out of Shyamalan and allows him to refocus on indie stories, something he specializes in.
1 No cameo
What started out as a cute nod to filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s hero and his penchant for blinking cameos and you’ll miss it in his own films, Shyamalan got carried away with himself.
Not content with giving himself increasingly important roles in each film after the first, he culminated in a central role in Lady in the water that critics just hated. While a minor cameo is perfectly acceptable in his next film, fans would expect him to keep it as low as possible because of the risk of becoming overly pleased again.
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