It seemed a little crazy of me to watch this following two ’08 movies I’d actually had a little hope for (yes, even Prom Night) and been let down so bad over. But, I don’t know, I never really stopped liking M. Night Shyamalan as some did – the furthest I drifted from him was over Unbreakable which I didn’t like at all on the first viewing. A second viewing remedied that entirely and I never entirely distrusted him since.
And you know what? After these 90 minutes, I’m still with him all the way. No – this movie is not terrifying as some people seem to have been led to expect, and if you go in with those expectations then, yes, you’re liable to wind up laughing. I’m guessing this is bad marketing – I don’t know because I don’t put myself in the position to be overexposed to such things. But if you do want to talk about the fear factor of this director’s movies, then at least compare it to Lady in the Water and The Village (two of the movies not oh-so-subtly mentioned on the poster tagline, lol) and realise, in this department at least, it’s still a slight return to form (if you like such phrases). I found the opening immediately arresting, the later scenes like with John Leguizamo and the two boys truly nightmarish, Zooey Deschanel of course stunning (what on earth are those eyes made of? lol) and the ending really quite moving.
It’s hokey and wobbly sometimes, but, y’know, I’m willing to trust that none of this is entirely unintended. Shyamalan’s shown so many times that he’s clearly a Hitchcock fan and so many of the moments particularly in this movie feel a lot more like the master of suspense’s frequent tongue-in-cheek moments than just a hack who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Whether that’s true or not, it still works for me better than the gigantic pile of crap I’ve had to expose my retinas to so far this year.