by Michael Welch `17
In perhaps the greatest M. Night Shyamalan twist yet, the director has turned his career around. Shyamalan burst onto the movie scene with thriller hits, The Sixth Sense, where he trademarked the Shyamalan twist that would be parodied and revered by his cult fan-base.
However, his name and trademark twists almost became a joke when he released several laughably bad films. The Happening featuring a lifeless performance from Mark Wahlberg, was a “horror” film where the monster was trees.
Devil featured five people in an elevator, the twist being the fact that one of them was the devil. But who? Nobody watched long enough to find out. The career-ender, however, was the insulting and infamous adaptation of The Last Airbender.
Many fans will never forgive Shyamalan for some of these films, but in the last few years there has been a surprising return to form for the ridiculed writer. His horror movie The Visit hit theaters in 2015 and received a surprisingly positive review from both critics and moviegoers alike.
The writing was fun, clever and scary at times, while the film featured a trademark Shyamalan twist that did not feel too rushed or stupid. It looked like Shyamalan was finally having fun writing again, but his reputation cannot be saved by one pretty-good movie.
That is what makes Split so important. This is the movie that could restore Shyamalan’s name to its former glory, and the reviews for Split are so-far extremely positive. Split is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 76 percent from critics and an impressive 83 percent from moviegoers. The film features a dramatic one-man-show performance by James McAvoy who plays a man with split personalities.
His performance is the film’s main draw, but fans are also excited to see if Shyamalan is back to his old ways. Shyamalan creates a tense but fun environment to let McAvoy run wild with his performance as he plays almost twenty different characters without changing costume.
The film is currently in theaters and opened to positive box office numbers and reviews which is good news for Shyamalan fans who stuck with him through his awkward phase.
Split’s positive reception means studios will be more open to giving him money to create more of his tense thriller/horror films in that distinctive Shyamalan style. Fans of the well-executed twist ending can rejoice because it appears, in another shocking twist, that Shyamalan is back among the Hollywood elites.