M. Night Shyamalan tends to be one of those directors that you either love or used to love and then started to hate somewhere around Lady in the Water. (More on that later.) Yes, the director enjoys a particular story format that often follows a certain pattern, but there’s no denying that he’s incredibly creative with the stories he chooses to put into the Shyamalan mold.
With Glass, the third film in his Unbreakable/Split trilogy opening this month, it serves as the perfect opportunity to go back and revisit some of the director’s earlier works. Even if you know the secret behind each movie’s curtain of mystery, many of them make for enjoyable re-watches. Keeping an eye out for Shyamalan’s clues to the twist in each movie can be particularly fun.
While Unbreakable may not your standard superhero movie, it most certainly is an intriguing take on the genre. After a blue-collar family man (Bruce Willis) emerges from a horrifying accident, he’s approached by a mysterious stranger (Samuel L. Jackson) who begins to explain how their lives are connected. The movie is a refreshing reminder that not all movies about heroes with superhuman abilities need to feature over-the-top CGI effects.
This is the movie that truly put Shyamalan back in with the good graces of movie critics. The movie about three girls who have been kidnapped by a mentally disturbed man with multiple personalities delivers plenty of tense moments that will have fans on the edge of their seat. Discovering that it ties in with the director’s previous movie, Unbreakable, is the cherry on top.
The balance between a small group of people living in a rustic community and mysterious beasts in the woods surrounding their village is thrown into jeopardy. Critics largely dismissed the film as Shyamalan trotting out his same old trick in a new format, which is fa air argument. That said, the film does deliver some chills and a sense of mystery that isn’t completely lost, even when you know the secret.
A movie about some kids visiting their grandparents isn’t exactly your standard recipe for a horror film. The thing is, these are no ordinary grandparents, and they begin exhibiting some truly creepy behavior that has the grandkids questioning their safety. Like all of Shyamalan’s films, there’s a twist in the story that you probably won’t see coming.
Critics absolutely hated this offering from the director and felt it was confusing nonsense. While it’s far from his best film, if you can put aside some of the plot holes and go along for the fantasy of an apartment super who discovers a mystical woman living in the pool, it’s an enjoyable movie. Sure it’s incredibly weird, but the director inserts enough drama to keep you engaged for the ride.
Hollywood has delivered countless alien-invasion movies that have space creatures blowing up entire cities. Rather than focus on how the Earth as a whole is dealing with the invasion, Shyamalan shifts the story to a rural family’s dealings with the invaders. All of the actors deliver strong performances and Shyamalan creates some truly tense moments that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud.
This is the movie that put the director on the map and made him the biggest buzz in Hollywood at the turn of the century. When a child is tormented by ghosts, a psychologist attempts to help him understand the unusual phenomenon. Even if you’ve seen it and know the twist, a re-watch is still incredibly fun as there are numerous clues to look out for around every turn.