m night shyamalan stranger things

Before they created Stranger Things for Netflix and won the hearts of everyone with a login to that omnipresent streaming service, Matt and Ross Duffer worked as writers on Fox’s Wayward Pines. And working on that series meant working with M. Night Shyamalan, who directed the pilot and served as an executive producer alongside Chad Hodge. And now that the Duffer Brothers are the ones in charge of a successful television series, Shyamalan would like them to return the favor and let him helm an episode of their show.

He’s not demanding a job, of course, and his quote over at Digital Spy feels like it’s infused with gentle good humor:

My boys who do Stranger Things, they did Wayward Pines for me. They were round my house and I was like, ‘Well, you can hire me back guys!

While the mere mention of Shyamalan’s name tends to inspire knee-jerk reactions these days (I’ll never forget the audible groan from the theater audience when his name flashed onscreen in the trailer for Devil), this is actually a fine match of director and material. Shyamalan is always at his best when there are restrictions placed in front of him, when he was still fighting an uphill battle. His earliest movies, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, still hold up like gangbusters. Split, which opens this Friday and is one of the smallest movies he’s made yet, is a hoot (you can read my Fantastic Fest review over here).

The worst Shyamalan movies – the self-indulgent The Lady in the Water, the baffling The Happening, the embarrassing The Last Airbender, and the lifeless After Earth – tend to find him given large budgets and too few restrictions. Here’s a filmmaker who seems to flourish when the odds are not in his favor, when he has something to prove, and when he’s acting as a guest in someone else’s sandbox.

So, sure! Let him take on an episode of Stranger Things. It may be too late to let him get in on season two (which is filming right now), but his genre sensibilities and goofy sense of humor would be a great match for the Duffer brothers’ throwback science fiction series. Split made me ready to embrace Shyamalan again and maybe an episode or two of Stranger Things will get the rest of the internet on board.

Split opens in theaters this Friday. It’s…something else.

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