Being a film buff, I see a lot of movies. It was with great interest, then, that I sat in a theater recently and watched a trailer for a new horror thriller that takes place largely in an elevator. An interesting concept, I thought, as did most of the audience… until a set of words popped up onto the screen that inspired howls of laughter: “From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan.”
Seriously. The audience broke out in laughter as soon as the director/writer’s name appeared. What’s even funnier is that I’ve now seen the trailer before a couple of movies, and every time it’s been the same reaction: steady interest until his name appeared, then laughter.
You don’t need to be a film critic to know that’s not good. It seems pretty clear that Shyamalan, who first burst onto the scene in 1999 with The Sixth Sense – a movie about a kid who sees dead people – has by now lost all credibility. The abominable Last Airbender, which got an astonishing 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a whopping average critic score of 20 out of a 100 on Metacritic, looks to have been the final nail in his dwindling career.
Up until now! Oh yes, as if Shyamalan doesn’t have enough trouble being taken seriously, he’s gone and done a spoof of the upcoming elevator movie that he wrote – unimaginatively called Devil, by the way – with MTV’s Josh Horowitz and Penthouse Pet Ryan Keely (her inclusion thereby tangentially qualifying the movie for discussion on this blog). Here’s the spoof, equally imaginatively named Escalation.
As you can see, the only thing worse than a man who isn’t being taken seriously spoofing himself, is a man spoofing himself in something that isn’t even funny. Yikes.