In 1999 when The Sixth Sense came out, twist endings were a novel idea, and nobody had really heard of M. Night Shyamalan. That changed almost overnight, and the writer-director went on to garner acclaim for movies like Unbreakable and Signs — films that combined quiet, character-oriented drama with the fantastic and supernatural. But over time the good reviews got quieter and the box office cooled off, and by the time Mark Wahlberg was fighting plants in The Happening, The Sixth Sense was a distant memory.
But Shyamalan has been working his way back, first with Fox's David Lynchian mystery series Wayward Pines, and now with a new, low-budget film called The Visit. Self-financed and filmed completely in secret, it tells the story of a brother and sister who visit their grandparents... only to discover strange things are afoot. I sat down with a newly reinvigorated Shyamalan here at Comic-Con for a frank and open discussion about why he went off the Hollywood grid, how he deals with audiences that may already be skeptical about his movies, and the status of one of his most interesting unrealized projects, the romantic drama Labor of Love.