Scroll down for updates made on April 27th, 2015.
M. Night Shyamalan is back in the news.
The man is nothing if not persistent – he just won’t go away. Kinda like Nicholas Cage. Or herpes.
After years of abysmal movies that we’ve all collectively attempted to block out – the most recent being After Earth which we were tricked into thinking it wasn’t an . Night film – Shyamalan is now working on a film for next fall (The Visit) and a limited 10-episode series (Wayward Pines) that hits the small screen in May.
Wayward Pines is the project generating a ton of buzz right now.
A 10-part adaptation based on the “Pines” book trilogy by Blake Crouch, it follows FBI agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) who visits the little forest town of ‘Wayward Pines’ after two fellow agents go missing. But soon after, the sweet small-town folk get Stepford Wives-level creepy. Because once you enter Wayward Pines, not only are you not allowed to leave; you physically can’t because of a mysterious force field enclosing the area.
If it sounds like Shyamalan decided to go with this adaptation after binge-watching Twin Peaks on Netflix while crying over the script for The Village, you’re not wrong. Crouch has said that Pines was heavily inspired by Twin Peaks. In a ‘love letter’ to David Lynch’s 90’s crime drama on drippler.com he wrote,
“I feel the need to express how much ‘Pines’ is inspired by Lynch’s creation of a small town in the middle of nowhere – beautiful on the outside, but with a pitch-black underbelly.”
Many see it as ripping off Twin Peaks, but I actually think it’s pretty cool. Everything’s based on something else, and compared to 50 Shades of Grey coming out of a Twilight fanfiction – this is an inspiration done right. Not to mention, Pines is apparently supposed to be a pretty solid trilogy.
With that reassurance, plus a promising trailer and a creepy town with an excess of inexplicable fog, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, remember class…it’s still M. Night Shyamalan.
According to io9, between dull characters, repetitiveness, and a slow-moving plot; the show face-plants pretty flat and quickly becomes boring to watch.
Sigh, classic M. Night.
With recent news that Twin Peaks is getting a deserved third season in 2016 and Will Smith saying Shyamalan’s After Earth was the “most painful failure“ in his career; it appears Wayward Pines was destined to fail and that Shyamalan wasn’t about to catch any breaks.
It’s disappointing that what could’ve been the best mystery since Lost might fall way short. And it’s damn frustrating that M. Night Shyamalan may have missed an opportunity for redemption. Because despite The Visit coming out this September, if anything had the potential to bring M. Night back from the dead – it was Wayward Pines.
I’m not gonna dick on M. Night Shyamalan’s downward trajectory because it’s become way too easy to do so. I don’t like the guy, but I feel for him. He’s made some classic films, and at the very least the dude is determined. There just comes a point where a director has to consider the whole ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ thing.
But hey, it’s only 10 episodes. And it still might be cool. So come May 15th I’m still gonna check out Wayward Pines. Which means I’m practically waiting to pull a Chris Crocker in front of my sacred TV.
‘Leave television alooone!’
(UPDATE: 04/27/2015, 5:36 pm)
This update has good news and bad news.
The good news is that the pilot of Wayward Pines was released early on Hulu for all of us to enjoy.
The bad news? The show is bad. Really bad.
It’s been strange having M. Night Shyamalan back in the news. He was even here in Chicago on April 24th at C2E2 for a panel on Wayward Pines.
Whether his career was dead the whole time and we just didn’t know it or he’s actually making a revival is yet to be seen. But in the end, throw The Dome, Twin Peaks, The Village and a film student’s final project into a blender and boom, you get Wayward Pines.
The pilot is packed with big reveals that carry mid-season-reveal weight and lacks any mystery or suspense. On top of terrible dialogue and lighting that makes everyone look like the vampires from The Strain, there are some very oddly placed innuendos.
For example, when a bartender played by Juliette Lewis says, “I never got that big tip you promised.” It’s not even fun bad. It’s just a bummer bad.
But wait, there is still hope for M. Night.
To sweeten up the sour taste that Wayward Pines left in our mouths, the trailer for his new horror film The Visit dropped today. And I don’t mean to jump the gun or jinx anything, but the movie actually looks pretty damn scary (knocks on wood).
However, that’s not to say it looks good. But at the least, The Visit looks like a promising horror film that will make you forever skeptical of your (seemingly) harmless grandparents.
Hopefully, the biggest plot twist of The Visit is that M. Night Shyamalan comes back to life.
(Featured photo courtesy of comingsoon)