Film Commentary

M. Night Shyamalan's Escalation (To a Slightly Better Place)

August 27, 2010

From Peter Sciretta of

When the trailer for the M Night Shyamalan-scripted/produced movie Devil was screened at Comic-Con, people began laughing and booing when M Night’s name appeared on screen. I’ve seen the same thing happen to a much lesser extent at a normal Friday night screening in at the Hollywood Arclight. The M Night backlash seems to be in full effect.

M Night seems to have a sense of humor after all, and has recorded a faux movie trailer for a new thriller called Escalation (basically Devil but on a normal office Escalator which suddenly comes to a stop). The spoof trailer stars Shyalaman, Penthouse Pet Ryan Keely, one of the stars of Avatar, and MTV News correspondent Josh Horowitz. Watch the trailer now, embedded after the jump.

Earlier this month, I was a little hard on M. Night for acting like a world-class prick at the Last Airbender Mexico City press conference.  But I have to hand it to the Shyashter for having a sporty sense of humor in relation to the tsunamic media backlash he’s been nautically steering through vis-à-vis his recent crop of poorly critiqued films and the wilting (if not wilted) respect of audiences in the U.S.

To me, the humor is implicit of a “fresh start,” a place where an artist (not as a big-budget director) has reached purgatory (despite what the box-office returns might be for a critically pooh-poohed blockbuster-hopeful).

I’m rooting for the comeback of M. Night as just that … an artist.

Nothing else.

Update: Thanks to a tip from an informant codenamed The Rower of Boats, Shyamalan’s Escalation is a blatant rip of this short film.

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