What are the best M Night Shyamalan movies? The director broke through in the late ’90s and quickly established a very distinct style of filmmaking full of twists, thrills, and a little bit of theatricality. But what are Shyamalan’s finest works?
The horror movie director has worked with some incredible actors over the years to tell some mind-blowing stories. The quality of Shyamalan’s work is so unpredictable though, and you never quite know what to expect going into one of his thriller movies. The only thing that’s a given is that you’re going to get a wild plot twist along the way.
So, what are the best M Night Shyamalan movies then? We’ve assembled seven of them right here for you.
The best M Night Shyamalan movies:
- The Sixth Sense
- The Village
- The Visit
- Knock at the Cabin
One of the scariest moments in the history of film (you know the one) arrive in this alien movie and it’s the kind of moment that will be seared in our brains for eternity.
Joaquin Phoenix stars and does an incredible job as always, working effectively alongside the young actors in Signs to create a genuine sense of dread and morbid curiosity throughout.
Regarded by many as one of the best superhero movies of all time, Unbreakable is a fascinating example of how comic books can influence big screen works, as Shyamalan purposefully structured his story to feel like a graphic novel.
Bruce Willis is the hero of the show, but it is Samuel L Jackson’s Elijah Price who becomes a most memorable movie villain and elevates this thrilling flick to be one of Shyamalan’s best.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
It is this ‘90s movie that really gave Shyamalan his big moment in the spotlight and he hasn’t looked back since. The Sixth Sense has become a huge part of popular culture, with endless riffs on the more iconic moments from the film, including the most notable line: “I see dead people.”
Don’t let that fool you into thinking this ghost movie is founded on gimmicky moments, though. The Sixth Sense is a spine-chilling story with one of the biggest plot twists of all time.
The Village (2004)
There’s plenty to love about The Village; from the terrifying monster stalking the woods, the exquisite acting from the ensemble cast, and yes, you guessed it, another brilliant plot twist.
While I personally feel the twist was revealed a little too early, there’s no denying that Shyamalan crafted a delightfully original monster movie here.
The performance of James McAvoy steals the show here, as the actor takes on the role of a man with 23 different personalities who kidnaps a group of young girls. His more menacing personas imbue this thriller movie with edge-of-your-seat tension, while there is still a degree of sincerity at the heart of his more gentle characters to really create a conflict in the audience.
Then, of course, there’s the stunning reveal that this movie is actually a secret sequel to the 2000s movie Unbreakable. How does Shyamalan come up with this stuff?
The Visit (2015)
Okay, this one is just sheer craziness, and while Shyamalan can take things a little too far sometimes, The Visit just hits the sweet spot of being wild without being ridiculous.
This found-footage horror movie starts as a story about reconciliation with estranged family members, but eventually turns into a chaotic tale of deadly strangers. Funnily enough, Shyamalan decided not to incorporate any plot twists in this film, which in itself was a surprise.
Knock at the Cabin (2023)
Shyamalan returned to the big screen this year with his new movie Knock at the Cabin, and wouldn’t you know it, the thriller is a real return to form for the director. Our Knock at the Cabin review was full of praise for the movie based on a book, labelling the film a “crowd-pleasing entertainer.”
That’s a wrap on the best M Night Shyamalan movies for now. If you like the master of plot twists, check out our guide to the Knock at the Cabin cast, or dive into our interview with M Night Shyamalan and Rupert Grint.