Is It Time to Say Good Night to M. Night?
by David Hartwell
July 3, 2006
I know this is skipping ahead a little bit (with Pirates opening just this weekend), but I feel it necessary to express how important Lady in the Water is to its writer/director, M. Night Shyamalan.
Night, whose name has become almost synonymous with the supernatural and twist endings, is at a very dangerous and risky point in his career as a director. Because of his amazingly surprising The Sixth Sense in 1999, he has basically been green lighted for almost any idea he has, good or not (which may lead him down a path similar to Stephen King's where the stories become more clichÃ© than interesting).
At this point, you may just disregard what I say and think that I am just some M. Night hater, but I assure you, I think his movies are some of the most creative and innovative films on the market, which is why I don't want Lady in the Water to be a flop. If Lady gets subjected to the same criticism and ridicule that The Village received in 2004 (from some people- warranted or not), it will be expected that producers may be much more skeptical before throwing cash Shyamalan's way.
The good news is that the test screenings (though I have no concrete way to confirm this) have been primarily positive. And if Lady in the Water lives up to The Sixth Sense and Signs, then I think that Shyamalan is on his way to becoming a movie mogul. If the hype is killed by a poor audience appreciation and critic negativity, then he may fall among names like Troy Duffy or Michael Cimino.
I hope the title of this article isn't too misleading; I don't want to come off as a typical Shyamalan blaster. But I hope that everyone agrees how important Lady in the Water will be to M. Night Shyamalan's career.