M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie The Happening opens on Friday, and critics are wondering if the film will re-make—or break—the director’s career. Best known for his Oscar-nominated thriller The Sixth Sense, his last movie, 2006’s Lady in the Water, flopped at the box office. (Reuters)
What the commentators said
Well, Shyamalan better hope The Happening does better than his last movie, said Matt Bradshaw in the blog Cinematical. Lady in the Water “left audiences unimpressed, pulling in only $18 million on its first weekend with a domestic total of $42 million, which fell far short of the film’s $70 million budget.”
It’s funny to think that just six years ago, Newsweek called Shyamalan “‘The Next Spielberg,’” said Bill Gibron in the blog Pop Matters. “Sure, The Sixth Sense was very good, and Unbreakable perhaps even better.” But these days, Shyamalan “looks like garbage,” and The Happening is “destined to go down as either the kitschiest camp trick ever played on an audience by a former A-list filmmaker, or the last gasp in a career downward spiral.”
Look, Shyamalan is only 37-years-old, said Richard Horgan in the blog Film Stew. “He marches to the beat of his own drummer and chances are that he will—sooner than later—find his way back to the great (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) or semi-great (Signs) tenor of his earlier efforts.” And if The Happening is judged by the “originality” of its premise and the “relative freshness” of its central storyline, then it should do well.
The Happening is a great film, said Ariel Raz in The Daily Californian, “a smart, beautifully vague thriller.” With The Happening, “Shyamalan justifies a comparison to Hollywood greats like Alfred Hitchcock, who in The Birds demonstrates how unfathomable peril can be all the more terrifying.” It’s nice to see that Shyamalan “is certainly maturing.”