I was impressed by M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999) as I imagine most people were though eventually I came to notice that the bulk of his movies that followed were for the most part The Twilight Zone knock-offs (sans the brilliant writing of Rod Serling).
And for awhile his shtick worked…till it didn’t with Lady in the Water (2006) – when the auteur seemed to get high on his own supply – followed by The Happening (2008), The Last Airbender (2010) and After Earth (2013).
He managed a comeback with The Visit (2015), which had the hallmarks of a typical M. Night Shyamalan joint, but since it was budgeted relatively smaller than his prior efforts, it felt almost quaint by comparison.
And…it was good while it lasted because if Old (2021) – a movie I haven’t yet seen – is any indicator it seems that he has fallen back into those old Twilight Zone-esque habits minus the budgets (The Visit cost $5 million while Old cost just over three times as much at $18 million) so there’s likely no stopping him since they’re quite profitable.
Which brings us to his latest, Knock At the Cabin (2023) – what happened to ‘A Knock At The Door?’ ‘The Cabin?’ ‘Season of Sacrifice’ or anything but what Shyamalan actually ended up using.
Then there’s what appears to be the premise, which is that this couple is given a choice: Either sacrifice their daughter to avoid the Apocalypse or don’t, which means she lives (and soon dies, because Apocalypse).
And sure, that’s a slippery slope to embark on but keep in mind that cultures all over the world at certain points sacrificed people to various deities so it’s hardly unusual (and that often was just so their crops would grow or some such thing), never mind how many people are killed these days for seemingly no reason at all.
It’s almost comforting that there’s at least a reason that makes some sort of sense.