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Shyamalan talks curse of the twist

MNightShyamalan.jpgWhile some may think that M. Night Shyamalan is preparing excuses for the upcoming The Happening, indeed the NY Post blog is laying into him already on that score and saying just that in some very harsh and uncaring terms, others may think that he's trying to explain what happened with Unbreakable and how he has become a victim of the twist ending.

For me it's definitely an explanation to the masses about that very thing. I've always been in the camp that likes Shyamalan films but believes he's been unfairly hit with those shouting about the failure of the twist endings when that's not what it's all about.

To a degree M. Night Shyamalan is cursed with the fantastic ending he gave to The Sixth Sense, and this story is far from apologising for The Happening before it comes out. I see it more as trying to explain to the public the pressure he's being put under by the studios to provide that twist ending regardless, and when he doesn't they market it that way anyway.

Over at the NY Times through /Film they interview M. Night Shyamalan and he tells of how he wanted to market Unbreakable as a film about an unlikely superhero however Disney wanted to sell it just the same as Sixth Sense.

"I remember the moment that it happened, exactly where I was sitting at the table, the speakerphone...That moment may have been the biggest mistake that I have to undo over 10 years so the little old lady doesn’t go, ‘Oh, he’s the guy who makes the scary movies with a twist.’"

Later in the article he goes on to say:

"I have two options: conform to the paths that have been laid out prior to me or deal with it...So which one do you suggest I do? I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t denied those conventions to begin with."

Now although that seems a little cryptic over at blogs.nypost.com they're ripping into Shyamalan something rotten, and despite only being able to find one review that's very early, and thankfully for their story is negative, they go on to slate it saying that it's "shaping up to be a box office catastophe" despite there being no screenings before the Friday 13th opening.

In another article they also are very negative against the film and say things such as "a trailer showing people jumping out of windows (How post-9/11!)" - oh I never realised that people jumping out of windows is now trademarked as such.

Anyway, this is perhaps what Shyamalan is fighting against, the instant backlash against his films, and something that is more than likely going to occur with The Happening as people head to see the expected great shocking twist and may perhaps go home empty handed.

Why can't we accept the rest of the film as much as we do the ending, and why do the media feel the need to attack him and his work so much? It's interesting that from the mainstream press and critics there's not as much negativity towards people like Uwe Boll as there can be Shyamalan - has his work really deserved that sort of negativity?



I think you're missing the main point here: that we've seen the laws of diminishing returns with each film since "Sixth Sense". "Unbreakable" was disappointing because it built up to a confrontation and then just stopped. But compared with what was to follow, it was a masterpiece.

The reason critics are angry, and dissing the movie already, is the spin-doctoring being done on why there are no previews. The film company are trying to have critics believe that the reason there are no previews ahead of release is that Shyamalan doesn't want anybody to give away the ending and spoil the film for potential viewers. This is patently ridiculous because those same critics most certainly didn't give away the ending for "Sixth Sense". The real reason has to be that Shyamalan doesn't want another "Lady in the Water" where the film was universally slated by the critics so that people were warned it was a turkey before they had a chance to book tickets.

It's a great shame as I was looking forward to this one based on the trailer. But as soon as I heard they weren't allowing critics to review the film it came off my list of "films to bother to go and see at the cinema".

I for one think that Shyamalan is a great storyteller. Unfortunately he suffered from what was becoming an expectation in a Shyamalan film, that is a twist ending. Remember Signs, weren't people expecting an explanation re: the presence of aliens and didnt get any?

Ian, you are writing off seeing the film because you didn't get to see the preview, is that all?

Ian, not at all, what you're describing is the symptom or cause i.e. the lower returns, the question is why those returns were lower and I firmly believe that came about because of hype over a twist ending and then the audience not getting one.

What was wrong with Unbreakable building to the confrontation - that's been applauded in No Country for Old Men, and in my mind that didn't even go far enough by stopping before we even saw the main characters meet, at least we had this here and the idea that it was going to be resolved in some way.

Anyway this was a story of the conception of a hero and villain, not the completion of the story between them.

You see I think you, and others, may have missed the point of Unbreakable.

I agree with Simone, there's no reason to attack the film because there are no previews - perhaps it genuinely is trying to keep the ending secret, perhaps it's just that they know they'll be up against a negative group of critics already, who knows. However does it deserve to be attacked for no screenings?

Oh come on Richard! No Country for Old Men "applauded" for its ending - by whom? All I've heard/read is criticism of the way that film handled the ending. I've lost count of the number of times I've got involved in heated discussions trying to justify the "off stage" death of the character viewers have been following throughout the film (and, alas, the excuse that it pretty much echoes the way the death is dealt with in the book just doesn't cut it with the vast majority of the public).

Simone, Ermm No. I wouldn't have received an invite to a preview anyway so that is not relevant. But when so many critics I know are absolutely livid with the way Shyamalan is using the excuse that critics might give away the ending, when to a man they supported him in not doing so with "Sixth Sense" it's hard not to come to the conclusion that the real reason for there being no previews for the professionals is that the film's a turkey. Or have you forgotten Shyamalan's last film so quickly?

All I've heard is the opposite as I try and explain why that ending wasn't as strong as everyone who raves about thinks it was.

Is Shyamalan using that excuse? Is it the studio? I have no idea. Why are critics getting so mad about that anyway, whoever has requested it? They do give away endings and twists time and time again.

However considering how Shyamalan is blasted by critics so easily, I wouldn't be surprised if he decided not to show them his films for that simple reason - I know I might be tempted to be spiteful that way.

As for his last film, I didn't think it was a turkey at all, I thought there was a fair bit to take from it and it was a bit of a grown up fairy tale.

Oh I actually enjoyed Lady in the Water, if there was a book of it, I will buy it. I almost forgot, I also quite enjoyed The Village. But of all of his films, Unbreakable remains my favorite.

I have to say that I have enjoyed almost all of Shyamalan's movies from Wide Awake and on. In fact, Lady in the Water was one of the better ones. To me, The Village was the weakest because it was the one where Shyamalan tried to satisfy studios and audience with a "twist ending" even if it was a lame one. Shyamalan is cursed as the man who puts twist endings in his movies and that is a shame because he is an excellent storyteller and movie-maker. I for one will be seeing The Happening and it looks like it will be great.

I just hope that if The Happening does poorly in terms of ticket sales, it doesn't spell the end of Shyamalan making films for us to see. That would be the biggest shame of all, and I for one will put the blame on critics and the film industry.


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