M. Night Shyamalan: The Reinvention of Suspense

If anyone has achieved tame your fears to bring them to the screen in a pure expression of terror and suspense, that’s him Indian-born director M. Night Shyamalan. Throughout his career, he has enshrined himself in the genre as one of the most important creators from ribbons catalogeds What “Cult”, between them, The sixth sense, Signs and The protégé, who have positioned him as the master of modern suspense, a title that defends with each new project.

An example of this is the series that marks its foray into productions for the world of streaming: Servant, original de Apple TV+.

The first 10 episodes of season one were a success. The director’s vision is manifested in each chapter, in partnership with guest directors. Servant has explored new nuances of suspense in an original psychological thriller, never seen on screen before.

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So the plot!

Starring Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Rupert Grint, and Nell Tiger, the production deals with the loss of a child in the bosom of a couple who decide to overcome their grief by replacing the loss… with a surprisingly realistic doll.

For the lives of Sean (Kebbell) and Dorothy (Ambrose) to continue as normal, they decide to hire the babysitter Leanne (Tiger), who, from one moment to the next, replace the doll with a real baby that she has brought with her.

The closure of the first season opens a new path in the plot, even darker, to give way to a second installment that keeps the attention of the followers of the work of M. Night Shyamalan.

Photo: Courtesy Apple TV +

In light of the pandemic

Before a group of international journalists, summoned via virtual to a meeting with the filmmaker, Oscar nominated director remembered the potential that saw Servant when he was invited by Apple TV + to collaborate on the project.

In the beginning, projected it as a production of up to six seasons, a number that he considered viable, having as a reference some productions of his liking.

The idea changed after the arrival of the pandemic: in his confinement, he questioned where he wanted to take this project, after observing that “Things move very fast” in the world of streaming, particularly, in the creation of programs that fight for the public’s attention.

[En] the second season, it was about figuring out exactly where we wanted to go with the story. Guide directors, writers, and actors through this journey. It was a season of great growth as storytellers and it was the first time that I controlled the whole story, because I wanted to make sure the public knew that [la serie] it has a bearing, “he told Forbes Life.

A few weeks after its release, Apple TV + announced the confirmation of a third season of Servant, which ensures at least 30 suspense episodes, of a total of four seasons, which is what the producer of the series wants to specify.

Photo: Courtesy Apple TV +.

M. Night Shyamalan had to manage his time efficiently to supervise all aspects of the series while putting on
his next film project is underway. Everything, in the middle of the pandemic.

This situation led him to assemble a great team of collaborators who knew how to capture the ideas of the creator in each of the chapters, with the support of a poster of invited directors, in which female talent stands out. And of course, M. Night Shyamalan was unable to detach of the desire to, again, direct an episode in this second season: the chapter four, which he considered a “strange and crazy dark episode.”

He also noted that Apple has been open to modifications.s of the project and its way of supervising the series, therefore, according to the established contract, you wouldn’t have to get involved with things like editing, sound effects, and color. However, his commitment to the project made him meddle down to the smallest detail.

Special collaboration

Everything indicates that the talent of M. Night Shyamalan has been inherited. At only 20 years old, his daughter Ishana Shyamalan was one of the directors invited to direct and edit two of the episodes of the new season. The director shared that this decision made Apple TV + representatives nervous, but, after observing the result, both chapters they were one of the few in the second installment of Servant not they had critical annotations by the streaming channel.

Photo: Courtesy Apple TV +.

“She has grown up next to my computer. I recently uploaded a photo of him in diapers, when he was directing El proteggone. Now, she goes to film school and has filmed short films, music videos … and it goes on and on ”, he shared enthusiastically.

Contrary to what you might think, M. Night Shyamalan’s life is very normal, the filmmaker confesses. The stories what has brought to the screen, as fascinating as they creeptes, they live only in the mind of the director, who describes his life as “boring”,

“I constantly express my fears in writing. The basis in all my films is the family nucleus, which is directed towards something that happens and is fractured. Those are the fears I deal with ”, concludes M. Night Shyamalan. but recognizes that stories address their fears and revolve around the feeling that something bad may happen.

“I constantly express my fears in writing”


Article originally published in the print edition of Forbes México. February 2021.

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M. Night Shyamalan: The Reinvention of Suspense