If you're the sort who lets the fickle proclivities of film critics affect your judgment of the actual quality of movies, you've surely concluded that M. Night Shyamalan's talents have been in a state of sad and hopeless decline for nearly a decade.

The same cultural commissars who unanimously praised The Sixth Sense (1999) and generally approved of Unbreakable (2000) and Signs (2002) began to turn on their once-favored cinematic prodigy when The Village was released in 2004; since that pivotal turning point in elite collective taste, they have never looked back. It is as though the India-born, Philadelphia-raised director has committed some unforgivable cinematic sin against the Holy Ghost, as far as critics are concerned – one suspects that even if he were to deliver the next Citizen Kane or Vertigo, it would still be greeted with a sour, bitter, contemptuous hate-loogie from the representative sampling of scribblers at Rotten Tomatoes, and the kind of accompanying astronomically low "rotten" score on the "tomato-meter" usually reserved for Pauly Shore or Larry the Cable Guy joints.