Since he returned to high-level filmmaking with The Visit, M Night Shyamalan movies have been exciting events as he has returned to his thriller movie roots with twisty plots and big ideas. His latest horror movie, which we called a “return to form” in our Knock at the Cabin review, has earned him big plaudits and solid box office yet again.
But the current Shyamalan resurgence – can we call it a Shyamalanaissance? – was built on a massive risk, which could easily have cost the filmmaker everything if it had gone badly.
Shyamalan told Kevin McCarthy that he staked his home on pulling together the budget to make his 2015 movie The Visit.
He said: “I literally mortgaged my house to do it originally with The Visit. Basically, I came to this feeling of the way the industry wanted me to make movies, I was incapable of doing that. I really got to the place where I was like ‘I’ll just write novels’ or ‘I’ll do plays’.”
Shyamalan said he was thus inspired to do the movie world equivalent of “streetball” in order to “remember how much I love the game”.
He added: “That’s what The Visit was. I just paid for it, did it and got very close to it all falling apart. The system doesn’t ingest new ideas very easily. All great stories have that moment where if this one little thing didn’t happen, it would have been a disaster. But those little things did happen and we turned a corner.”
Shyamalan said that, even though The Visit was “a movie that nobody wanted, nobody believed in”, it earned five times what he put in during its successful opening weekend.
“That began this run as we are here today. I still want to risk constantly. The individual’s voice is what the audience wants to see,” he said.
Shyamalan certainly can’t be accused of playing it safe with his new movies, so it’s worth finding out how to watch Knock at the Cabin in order to experience the director’s latest outing and reading our Toby Kebbell interview about his role in Shyamalan’s TV series Servant. Or, check out our interview with Shyamalan and Rupert Grint for more on Servant and their careers.