Sunday, May 11, 2008

More Happening

The new trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Happening' ramps up the creep factor. Problem is, the better his movies look in trailers, the more skeptical I am. I can't help it.

Show me creepy footage of a bunch of people standing still, staring forward, in the street, and I think: what's the catch.

Show me beautiful acting and cinematography and I think: well, that's what Shyamalan does -- but, how stupid will I feel for paying to see this movie.

The twist ending of 'The Village' negates the whole experience and leaves you feeling cheated, and yes, a bit gullible. This idea is something that would have made a good exercise as a short story, and might have been compelling as a stage play (for audiences that like to go to plays), but as a movie it didn't work.

The ending of 'Lady in the Water' doesn't pull the rug out from under you, but it doesn't do anything to justify such a drawn-out affair either. This one suffers from a hokiness factor that accomplishes the same effect -- you feel cheated and a bit gullible for expecting good entertainment.

The same can be said for all of Shyamalan's other movies, excepting of course 'The Sixth Sense'.

Is it too soon to call this the 'Shyamalan Effect'? Does M Night still have any credibility? Is anyone still willing to take a chance on this guy? If the creepiness in 'The Happening' doesn't lead somewhere that's cool and intelligent M Night's street cred will be shot. I love the genre -- the supernatural-psych thriller, light on gore, heavy on atmosphere and suspense -- but M Night has got to come through with some basic, solid storytelling, including an ending that isn't dumb and doesn't make you feel like a fool for having taken the time.

People complain about this -- this is what they're saying. (It's not just me). 'The Sixth Sense' was a long time ago. M Night is flirting with becoming a one-hit wonder, the punch-line of a joke. I'm hoping 'The Happening' is a hit. It could be. All this movie has to do is deliver what its trailer promises, come through with the goods. This looks like an original idea executed with panache. The problem is all of Shymalan's trailers look great -- the movies, however...

1 comment:

Rapp Collin's NY said...

I agree with Unbreakable and Village...but Signs was a fantastic story, and really well done. Regarding you're presumption that he could be a one-hit wonder, you should check your facts on that...he's grossed way too many millions at the box office and in DVD sales to be considered one-hit, mostly because (of all your accomplishments) you've decided that you're smarter than him.

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