He has lost his mind.
As Mark Shea is fond of saying, "Sin makes you crazy." I don't presume to know the complete condition of Shyamalan's soul, but clearly, egomania has taken hold and so he has lost his grip on reality. In this case, the demanding and wonderful realities of the essentials of narrative filmmaking.
I remembered, somewhere in the first ten minutes of Lady in the Water that I had pledged back in the last ten minutes of The Village that I would never be coaxed to spend any more money buying this director's movies. And then it was just a matter of time before I got the energy to propel myself out of my seat.
I walked out of Lady in the Water about mid-point of the film, when it had become embarrasingly apparent that the filmmaker was splashing around this pathetic unstory, desperately caught in the undertow of his own hype. I left when it was clear that nothing could happen in the remaining hour to salvage the first half's perfect storm of narrative, character and thematic elements from devolving into a level 5 typhoon of cinematic pretension and absurdity.
What was that great insult of the Wizard to Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz? Oh yeah, this film is a "clinking, clanking, collection of calligenous junk!" But maybe I haven't expressed myself strongly enough here...
There is really nothing in Lady for the audience. It is all about Shyamalan in an icky kind of valentine to himself as a writer. He says the kind of things about himself in this film that people should let others say about them. But they will NEVER say them about this guy. You can quote me.
The greatest emotional response the film evoked from me was a monumental chortle when I recalled Robin on Good Monring America yesterday referring to Shyamalan as a "Master of Suspense". HA!
How bad is it?....Hmmmmm.... I'd rather watch a Peter Jackson film fest 20 hour marathon then a half hour of anything Shyamalan has done since Sixth Sense. And those of you who know me, know what I'm saying here...
There is nothing scary in this film. The audience I was with actually laughed at a couple of moments that were supposed to be scary, but were so badly executed that it was a cause of sneering. There is nothing offensive from a moral standpoint - unless one considers, as I do, that bad art is a moral problem. Lady is just really, really, monstrously bad storytelling.
The only thing this movie does is confirm that M. Night is class A, textbook, laughing all the way to the bank, one hit wonder. [read in the little girl whisper they've had on the TV trailers:] Pass. Pass. Passsssssssssssssssssssssssss.