Shyamalan… the new Hitchcock

Okay, I’ve got your attention.

sandratayler was telling me about trailers she’d been watching over on the site, and commented that M. Night Shyamalan was the only writer/director she knew of where his name was bigger than the movie title. I got to thinking about that, and realized that for twisty, cerebral thrillers, he’s not the only one. Alfred Hitchcock was billed the same way.

I’m not about to say that Shyamalan has the chops Hitchcock did, because I’m not familiar enough with a) the genre, b) Hitchcock’s vast opus, or c) Shyamalan’s work. But from a marketing standpoint, the folks selling us Shyamalan’s films want us to think of HIM before we contemplate the subject matter of his latest film. And that’s the same thing that happened with Hitchcock films later in his career. It STILL happens. “Vertigo” is not a “Cary Grant” film. It’s a HITCHCOCK film.

So… I’m pleased with myself for drawing this comparison. I don’t dare Google “Hitchcock Shyamalan” lest I find out that someone else has had this same insight and then completely invalidated it with actual research.


22 thoughts on “Shyamalan… the new Hitchcock”

    1. Nope. Vertigo is Jimmy Stewart. Cary Grant was in North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief. I’m the one who is willing to watch films that aren’t in color.

      1. Turner Classic Movies and AMC are essentially the only reason I, and many others I know, still bother with television; it’s easier than finding those movies on anything else, and oftentimes gems pop up that I would otherwise ignore.

        Howard seems to be the only one who’s noticed the font resemblance. Everyone else simply seems to notice the remarkably similar film styles.

        As for directors in other lines of work whose styles are unique, I wonder why Quentin Tarantino has yet to perform this method of artistic turnabout. He seems remarkably suited to it…

        Lastly, of course, I think that “Howard Taylor’s Schlock” has an inherently appealing ring to it.

  1. And like “The Village” one watches the movie with bated breath, gasps at the denoument…..
    and never has the desire to see it again.
    “Nah, that’s the one where…….”

        1. There were two supposed surprises… one when you found out that Noah was the person pretending to be one of the creatures and one when you found that they were actually in modern day and not the 1800s.

      1. Just like watching Hitchcock films repeatedly. North by Northwest, Vertigo, Rear Window and most of the rest are good films even if you know all the twists by heart. Similiarly, I find Shyamalan’s Unbreakable to have the same quality.

      2. The Village certainly has some brilliantly unconventional shot angles…….
        Can’t say any more since don’t want to spoil but I thought one at least was utterly beautiful whilst showing something totally unexpected….

  2. M. Night Shyamalan is a cinematographer who thinks he’s a storyteller. He has a talent for stretching a half-hour story into two and a half hours of artsy-fartsy crap.

    Comparing him to Hitchcock is a gross insult to Hitchcock.

    1. Could be, could be. Like I said, I’m not an expert.

      From a marketing standpoint, however, he’s in Hitchcock’s shoes.

      It’s like how, in marketing terms, Nintendo and Apple are equivalent.

    2. I think what you’re saying is certainly True of Signs. I’ve only seen Signs and The Sixth Sense (which I thought was excellent) but god damn did Signs have a silly plot. Very well shot film, for the most part though.

      1. “Unbreakable” is worth watching. I liked it a lot, and it really was a much different story than either “Signs” or “Sixth Sense.” It’s also a story worth telling, which most films these days can’t seem to find.

  3. Okay, I did some homework to make sure which movies were his:
    The Village – Saw it, but was SO memorable(and scary) that I don’t need to see it again.
    Sixth Sense – It comes on t.v. every so often and I like to watch it every time. The first time you watch it you get a surprise, and then every time you watch it afterward you are catching things and figuring things out that you didn’t before.
    Unbreakable – Awesome. The use of color. If you love comicbooks/ superheros it’s cool.
    Signs – It was so suspenseful and scary that right after I watched it I was in the bathroom and swore I could see alien hands reaching under the door! I can’t watch it again. I did love that the annoying thing about the daughter was the thing that saved them.
    The new Shyamalan movie to come out is called, Lady in the Water. It sounds kind of storybook meets the realworldish.
    M. Night Shyamalan was in a credit card commercial where he was in a cafe and all these strange people and characters appeared that perhaps he could create a story around, until a waitress recognised him, interrupted him, and started going on and on about Sixth Sense and he had to go find a new cafe to hang out in.
    I like M. Night Shymalan. I would label his style, Dark Modern Fairytale.

  4. You needn’t bother with a google, just look Shyamalan up in Wikipedia:
    “Hallmarks of Shyamalan’s films include final-act plot twists, depictions of ordinary people encountering and dealing with the paranormal or extraordinary, as well as cameo appearances by Shyamalan himself in each of the films (an homage to the director and master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, whose style Shyamalan has emulated).”
    It’s not at all an accident that Shyamalan seems a little Hitchcock-esque. Now if only he could make some decent movies (aside from Sixth Sense).

  5. Hitchcock Shymalan?

    I’ve only seen Sixth Sense, which I liked, and I’ve been meaning to see Unbreakable. He did a great job of building suspense, and definitely had me hook, line and sinker up to the very end. I definietly didn’t expect the twist at the end, and everytime I’ve watched it, I catch something else. He’s got great style, perhaps even “Hitchcock-esque”, but I don’t think he’s up to doing anything in the caliber of North By Northwest, or Psycho. But I do hope he keeps trying.

    I do find it funny that someone atually thought they could do a shot-by-shot remake of Psycho, and that it would be as good as the original. I guess it’s the difference between a fry cook and a master chef. Sure they’re both using the same ingredients, but it’s the WAY they are used that makes the difference.

    My $.02, your mileage may vary…


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