(Photo by © Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection)
To say it’s been an up-and-down ride on the Tomatometer for M. Night Shyamalan would be an understatement. The idiosyncratic writer/director made a huge and terrifying splash with his sophomore film, the Certified Fresh The Sixth Sense – which made a bucketload at the box office and earned Oscar nominations for Best Film, Best Director, and Original Screenplay – and followed it up with a string of critical hits in the form of Unbreakable and Signs. Then came the Rotten The Village, Lady in the Water, and two notorious big-budget flops, The Last Airbender and After Earth, 5% and 11% on the Tomatometer respectively.
Of course, as one would expect in a Shyamalan tale, there was a twist to come: Returning to his lower-budget roots, the director scored a hit with 2015’s The Visit, an economical and unnerving kids-in-peril tale, and then delivered the Certified Fresh Split, which would not only be his scariest and most effective thriller in years, but act as a stealth continuation of the Unbreakable story and set up its conclusion in Glass.
Now comes Old, adapted from the graphic novel Sandcastle, about a collection of vacationers who find themselves trapped on a private beach where their body clocks have gone haywire: something about the mysterious beach is aging them rapidly, so that every hour that passes pushes their lives – and bodies – forward by about two years. What follows is a series of jaw-dropping WTF shocks, big philosophical questions (if you only had a few more hours to live…), and of course plenty of twists we won’t give away here.
To mark the arrival of a new M. Night Shyamalan movie in theaters – and it is only available in theaters – we’re dedicating a very special episode of our podcast Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong to the director who has been keeping us on our toes for more than two decades. Looking at his entire career, co-hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley will reveal the Shyamalan movies that they feel the critics got wrong (hint: one of their choices may involve a certain gated 19th-century commune) and talk about his best moments and most mind-blowing twists.
Plus, we welcome a special guest in the form of Alex Wolff, who is not only a Shyamalan super fan but delivers a standout performance as teenage Trent in Old. (He also co-stars with Nicolas Cage in the acclaimed drama, Pig, also currently in theaters.) What Shyamalan film does he love the most? And what was it like to work with one of our modern masters of suspense? Tune in to see.
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Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.