M. Night Shyamalan‘s career has been a rarity, in that the filmmaker has had almost complete creative control over his output since the very beginning, a luxury that very few writers and directors have been afforded in the modern era, all thanks to The Sixth Sense being one of the most impressive calling cards of the last quarter of a century.
The complete unknown’s first major studio film nabbed $672 million at the box office, punctured the zeitgeist and landed six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, but it can’t be argued that over the following two decades many of his subsequent projects were highly prone to self-indulgence.
It looked as though a resurgence of sorts was on the cards after the one-two punch of The Visit and Split did solid critical and commercial business, only for Glass to ultimately disappoint by failing to live up to the potential of the core Unbreakable crossover. Shyamalan is back with mysterious psychological thriller Old, which releases next month, and in a new interview he teased that audiences have never seen anything like it before.
“No one has ever seen anything like it in its tone and the way it’s just, I mean, it’s like nothing else. I’m deciding on the minor note; how to end on a minor note. Unbreakable ends on a kind of a dip, right? He goes to the dark note, that minor note at the end. The guy you thought was the best friend is the villain. The minor note sticks to you forever. My father’s very old right now. He has dementia. He comes and goes. And the kids are now directing and singing concerts and, you know, when did this happen? So I made a movie about that feeling.”
The bare bones of the Old‘s premise are inspired by acclaimed graphic novel Sandcastle, with a cast of characters trapped on a beach where they age rapidly every thirty minutes, forcing them into a race against the clock to figure out what’s going on and how they can stop it, before they simply die of old age by the time the credits roll. It’s definitely a unique hook, and the footage we’ve seen so far looks incredibly promising, but given his patchy track record, you never know until opening day which M. Night Shyamalan you’re going to get.