By most quantitative accounts, 'Devil,' a film conceived by M. Night Shyamalan but written by Brian Nelson and directed by the Dowdle Brothers, isn't off to a very good start. This is not surprising considering Shyamalan's "From the mind of" credit in the trailer eventually became a cue for laughter whenever it played in theaters, but the film opened in third place and has, as of this writing, a forty-one percent fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. However, given a little context, the situation isn't quite so dire.
Yes, 'Devil' is currently rated rotten on RT (a rating my own review disagrees with), but its forty-one percent is a remarkable increase from the abysmal six percent that his recent directorial effort, 'The Last Airbender,' earned earlier this summer. (Note: it's not very fair to compare the box office totals of the two because a kids-friendly, massively marketed movie like 'Airbender' would have had a bigger opening no matter who directed it.) And if we look prior to 'Airbender,' 'Devil' still pulled in better reviews than both 'The Happening' and 'Lady in the Water', neither of which managed to crack a twenty-five percent score. That means as far as the numbers go, Shyamalan is back where he was with 2004's 'The Village.'
So that begs the question, should Shyamalan stick to simply producing movies? Should he take a break from directing himself to usher in fresh blood as part of his new series of Night Chronicles?