M. Night Shyamalan has had one heck of an odd career in film. Putting it kindly, the guy falls into a category alongside Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage or Josh Trank.
That is to say, like a junior school game of Football, there have been way more misses than hits – though those hits have indeed been worthy of a victory ice cream.
One of those hits for the most part was the decent Unbreakable from 17 years ago, in which Bruce Willis plays a ‘superhero’ of sorts, being indestructible and possessed of enormous strength. It had good character work at it’s core, and Sam Jackson was given plenty to chew on apart from the scenery.
Now, thanks to a surprise, perhaps even shoehorned reference to the same film, in his new hit thriller ‘Split’ – it looks like a full sequel to Unbreakable may be happening.
Given hero movies are a mainstay right now, including universe-building films, a pattern has started to develop. Shyamalan wants to direct future episodes of Stranger Things, and ‘Split‘ itself has shades of twist films reliant on psychological breakdowns, a la Memento or The Machinist.
Mr Night, you sir have been at the helm of howlers that would end most careers. From stomping on childhoods with Last Airbender, to apartment building literary scout mermaids (Lady in the Water) and magic suicide plants (The Happening), the high concepts are often encapsulated in derivative low-quality output.
The point here is that he is a cinematic good-time limpet, latching on to whatever whale is gobbling up the krill this week. Calcified hussy. Giving ‘Split’ the benefit of the doubt may seem wise here, but with a record of more up and downs than an irritable bowel sufferer after undercooked chicken, we wouldn’t hold out much hope of the follow-up being solid.