It's confirmed. M. Night Shyamalan is in freefall.
The Happening is only marginally better than, and just as stupid as Lady in the Water. How does one explain his "crappening?" I think it all goes down with his childish and pretentious obsession with casting himself as an auteur--a concept so pretentious that there's only a word for it in French--which puts him in the disastrous company of Abel Ferrar (Bad Lieutenant to The Funeral and on downward) and David Milch (Deadwood to John from Cincinatti) as well as folks like Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman. It is entirely possible that Shyamalan cannot write--the Sixth Sense notwithstanding--and it is definitely proven by his last three films that his critical faculties are severely wanting. Delusional is the word that springs to mind. (I'm sure that the wise man at Disney who dumped him has been promoted way, way up the ladder). Filmmaking--like writing--is not really a solitary profession, it seems. You need people to tell you when you're doing something ridiculous, or pompous, or just plain dopey. My guess is that Manoj had about 100 projects in the trash can before he came up with The Sixth Sense, and that was a good thing. Unbreakable came next, and it was OK. But then the critical world (Newsweek and Time in particular) did him a colossal disservice by saying that Signs was a brilliant masterwork and enshrining him as the next Spielberg. Signs was stupid, too, folks. With badly drawn aliens and, again, that crushingly horrible whimsy that Manoj has patented in his post-Sixth Sense career: the aliens could be destroyed by tap water.
That's it. He's in the heap with Karan Johar and Abel Ferrar--I vow never to spend money on one of his movies again.
I guess this means UTV is not going to catapult itself into the realms of Village Roadshow etc--at least not yet.