M. Night Shyamalan is a historic filmmaker. He is, at once, the man that pulled off perhaps the biggest cinematic trick of modern times with The Sixth Sense, while also being the man that managed to make the first real Will Smith box office failure, After Earth. Neither of these things are easy to achieve, but Shyamalan boasts both those feathers in his cap. While fans of his tremendous early work have been patiently waiting, he has yet to deliver a movie of sufficient high quality to de-odorise the stench of his 2008 film, The Happening. M. Night Shyamalan – and his audience – needs his groove back, and that’s exactly what we’re all hoping for with his new horror film, Sundowning.
Unsurprisingly, for a movie written and directed by the master of the epic film twist, plot details are closely guarded. The title gives us a clue, however, as it is a medical term that relates to psychological phenomena associated with dementia. Add to that the sparse film synopsis, which states simply that a single mother and her two young children visit their grandparents, and we have an idea of the kind of creepy scares we might be in for. The main casting is now out in the open, however, with the news that the incredibly talented Kathryn Hahn (Bad Words) is playing the female lead, and the up and coming young Ed Oxenbould joins her. Hahn fills the role of the single mother, while Oxenbould appears as her son, who is – apparently – particularly protective of his sister.
Now, hold on a moment. A single mother, a pre-pubescent son, and horror genre happenings by the hand of M. Night Shyamalan – isn’t this all kind of familiar? Yes. Yes it is. But this is not necessarily a bad thing – for this seems to be M. Night Shyamalan’s much-needed return to the well. This is a small, low-budget, scary movie, just like he used to make – and boy, did he make good movies. Remember the girl under the bed in The Sixth Sense? Or Bruce Willis in the train station in Unbreakable? Or that achingly long tracking shot around the walls of the house, as something unseen prowls the verandah outside in Signs?
When he is truly on his game, M. Night Shyamalan is a formidable talent who makes brilliant scary movies. He just hasn’t been on his game for quite a long time. With its Pennsylvania production almost complete, however, indications are good that Sundowning might just be the film to change all that – performing the re-boot his once promising career needs.
Source: The Wrap