Perhaps no modern-day filmmaker has endured as much critical drubbing as M. Night Shyamalan, the once-promising director of The Sixth Sense and Signs who went downhill fast with a brutal series of five flops in a row, each somehow more horrendously executed than the last. Now, however, Shyamalan may finally be on the right track – flying under the radar, he recently shot a low-budget, supernatural thriller more in line with his first directorial efforts, which has just been picked up by Universal Pictures.
Titled The Visit, the project is a marked change from Shyamalan’s big-budget fare like The Last Airbender and After Earth, both of which earned him Razzie nominations for Worst Director (he actually won the dishonor for The Last Airbender). The director partnered with Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, which likely helped the film land at Universal, but Shyamalan chose to go outside of the studio route, self-financing and shooting The Visit in and around his Pennsylvania home.
Though much of the film’s plot is being kept under wraps, The Visit focuses on a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a weeklong trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, their chances of returning home in one piece grow dismayingly slim.
Many critics have written Shyamalan off after his string of high-profile turkeys, but no one can deny that he has a great handle on suspense and, with movies like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, he’s actually delivered some of the most exciting twists in recent cinematic history. Hopefully all the hate he received for subsequent movies will push him to get back to making movies like those aforementioned hits – not to mention ones that might be able to at least partially wash away the stench of After Earth.
Universal will release The Visit on September 11th, 2015.