Believe it or not, this year is the 20th (!) anniversary of The Sixth Sense, the little horror flick from nowhere that became a blockbuster, picked up a few Oscar nominations and catapulted its Indian-born, Pennsylvanian-raised director, M Night Shyamalan, to the big league. (Remember when he was hailed as ‘the next Spielberg’?)
At the same time, the phenomenal impact of that movie — Shyamalan’s third actually, after the obscure Praying with Anger and Wide Awake — is also this huge albatross around his neck that got heavier and heavier with his subsequent efforts. So much so that it turned into a hangman’s noose.
Shyamalan didn’t invent the twist ending but for some reason, moviegoers seem to think he did, and so when he didn’t deliver one, critics and fans came at him with torches and pitchforks. His movies aren’t so much unwatchable but exasperatingly unsatisfying. You can hate Signs and The Village all you want, but even they have compelling qualities, like the way he cranked up the suspense. It’s a pity that he had trouble bringing it home.
After a successful four-picture run with Disney (their acrimonious split is recounted in the Michael Bamberger book, The Man Who Heard Voices), came the slide — Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth.
The Razzie MVP didn’t stay too long in director’s jail (a term to describe a filmmaker who’s shunned by the industry): he rebounded with a little help from horror merchant Jason Blum, starting with The Visit, followed by Split, which turns out to be a backdoor sequel to Unbreakable.
And that brings us to Shyamalan’s latest, Glass, which pits Bruce Willis’ poncho-wearing superhero in Unbreakable against James McAvoy’s dissociative identity disorder-afflicted villain in Split, with Samuel L Jackson’s genius mastermind refereeing the clash of the titans.
How does Glass stack up against the other Shyamalan movies? (At press time, it scores a lacklustre 37 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.) Let’s rank them, from the worst to best. Warning: spoilers ahead!
Photos: Disney, UIP, Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros
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