Shattering Low Expectations
No filmmaker in recent memory has done more to restore their tarnished image than M. Night Shyamalan. His career took off like a rocket after his 1999 hit, The Sixth Sense. But his skyward trajectory came crashing down to earth with the release of his 2004 clunker, The Village. The man who many labelled the next Hitchcock stagnated in career limbo, releasing big-budget flops like The Last Airbender and After Earth. It wasn’t until his 2015 Blumhouse collaboration The Visit that Shyamalan finally returned to form.
While not on the level of The Sixth Sense and Signs, The Visit is a solid horror flick. With its modest $5 million budget, The Visit is an intimate, small-scale horror story that feels like someone expanded the most exciting segment in a horror anthology movie. His next film Split upped the stakes, adding a bigger budget ($9 million), deeper mythology, and a legitimate Hollywood star. Shyamalan saved Split’s biggest surprise for the closing moments. In Marvel movie fashion, Split ends with the surprise appearance of a character from one of Shyamalan’s older films. And with that twist ending, the Shyamalan extended universe was born.
Glass unites Shyamalan’s Unbreakable characters David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) with Split’s mentally fractured antagonist Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). The new Glass trailer shows the characters locked away in a mental health facility and receiving treatment/being manipulated by Sarah Paulson’s Dr. Ellie Staple. Take a look:
The Visit and Split were pleasant surprises, but I can’t say that I’m pumped to see Glass. Back in 2002, I would have bare-knuckle boxed the aliens from Signs for a chance to see more stories about Willis’ unbreakable hero, David Dunn. But that was long before the superhero-industrial complex overtook Hollywood. After Christopher Nolan cornered the market on grounded comic book stories, the concept has lost its lustre.
You can’t argue with that cast, though. Am I giving Willis and Jackson too much credit to assume they wouldn’t return to these characters without an enticing script? Perhaps. Regardless of the film’s quality, one thing is guaranteed: no amount of Sarah Paulson is too much Sarah Paulson.
You can be sure that Shyamalan has one big Easter egg up his sleeve for him to dish out before Glass’ final credits roll. My guess is that the aliens from Signs come back to earth and David Dunn, Mr. Glass, and The Beast must join forces to stop them. Let us know what your guess is @VictorJStiff and @OnThatShelf.
Glass arrives in theatres on January 18, 2019