The Save: Even in auteur-wary Hollywood, Shyamalan was once revered with the same accord granted to heavyweight Euro titans like Bergman.
And that, arguably, has been the biggest millstone around Shyamalan's neck. Forced to pen originals, he's been accused of being a one-trick pony for his twist-heavy structures (as ably parodied by South Park ).
Even when he confounded expectations by adapting cult TV anime The Last Airbender , his name was still on the script.
It's time to free the director from his writing twin, and see how he handle being a hack-for-hire.
Potential Twist: Shyamalan really does turn out to have a writing twin, a la Charlie and Donald Kaufman.
The Save: With rumoured production costs of $150, and nearly the same again on marketing, it's hard to square The Last Airbender as the work of the guy who brought The Sixth Sense in for around $40 million.
The slow-burn, stealthy menace of Shyamalan's best films is one of the most distinctive visual styles in modern Hollywood, and can be achieved for peanuts.
Time to go back to basics with an old-school, things-going-bump-in-the-night horror movie. And, please, for God's sake, no 3D.
Potential Twist: In a cataclysmic economic upheaval, hyper-inflation means Night's 'cheapie' ends up costing more than all of his other films combined.
Don't Think It, Make It
The Save: Since Unbreakable , Shyamalan has been consistent in releasing a new film every two years. Time to break the routine.
For some directors, that means spending Kubrickian lengths of time in devising a magnum opus. For Shyamalan, we recommend the opposite.
Don't dwell on The Last Airbender 's failure. Don't overthink the 'comeback.' Just grab a camera, head over to Bruce Willis' place and make something on the fly.
Potential Twist: The footage is mysteriously waylaid en route to the processing lab, and doesn't turn up until 2035.
Become An Actor
The Save: Shyamalan has acting credits in all of his films from The Sixth Sense through to The Happening , and has been maligned for every single one.
The master of surprise could do worse than sneak off, take some acting lessons, and bag a madcap, self-deprecating cameo in a Judd Apatow flick.
Potential Twist: It's not Shyamalan at all, but Mike Myers in elaborate make-up. A race scandal quickly ensues.
The Save: This one's already a possibility, as Manoj has already lent his support to the forthcoming Devil , the first of a three-pic producing deal.
True, the project, originally promoted with Shyamalan's name above the title, has dropped the association of late, but it's still a good shot at redemption.
After all, when you consider Gullermo Del Toro's success with The Orphanage , Peter Jackson helping District 9 get made, or Shyamalan's hero Spielberg with countless others, it's a canny way to refresh and extend the brand.
Potential Twist: This time, it is Shyamalan, directing under a pseudonym.
The Save: With Inception wowing critics to such an extent it's become the anti- Airbender , it's worth noting that Christopher Nolan has nabbed Shyamalan's trademark territory and won't be letting go for the foreseeable future.
But before The Sixth Sense propelled him into the A-list, Shyamalan's films weren't twisty scare stories (he co-wrote Stuart Little , after all), so there's always the option he could change tack.
We're talking total reinvention here. Western. Musical. Rom-com. Doesn't matter, as long as it's something he's never done.
Potential Twist: The studio takes the completed film off Shyamalan and re-edits it to include a sting in the tail.
Drop The Night
The Save: ...because, of course, his real name is Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan. The "Night" was an affection from student days.
It's served him well, with its connotations of dread merging seamlessly with the subject matter of The Sixth Sense . Now, however, it's possible that he could get people to take him a lot more serious by going back to his birth name.
Callow Larry Fisburne gained newfound maturity as Laurence Fisburne. Movie star Dwayne Johnson got parts that moonlighting wrestler The Rock could only dream of. Prince only really became popular after becoming Symbol...well, maybe not that one, but you get the point.
Potential Twist: Chinese whispers result in Hollywood signwriters mistakenly thinking Shyamalan has chosen a symbol for his name. Henceforth, he is known as
It's pronounced "Squiggle."