5 Must-See M. Night Shyamalan Movies – And Where to Stream Them – CBR – Comic Book Resources Leave a comment

M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most influential directors in film. For the uninitiated, here are some of his best movies and where to find them.
M. Night Shyamalan is an Indian-American filmmaker and director and perhaps one of the most influential filmmakers in the last few centuries. He is most known for making original films with contemporary supernatural plots with unexpected endings. He made his directorial debut in 1992 with Praying with Anger, an independent drama film about a young Indian-American’s return to India. It explores the clash of Western values with those of the Indian subcontinent, and, in addition to directing, Shyamalan wrote, produced and starred in the film.
Since his very first, Shyamalan has directed many commercially successful films, including the comedy-drama Wide Awake (1998) and the science fiction thriller, Signs (2002). With great difficulty, let’s narrow down the overwhelming list to five must-see M. Night Shyamalan films and where to watch them.
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Kicking off the list is The Sixth Sense, a supernatural psychological thriller. It stars Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist whose patient, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), can talk to the dead. Cole is frightened by visitations from the apparitions and confides in Crowe, who tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, but his discovery instead awakens them both to something unexplainable.
The film established Shyamalan and introduced the cinema public to his traits, most notably his affinity for surprise endings. It was the second-highest-grossing film of 1999, earning $672,806,292 worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus reads, “M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense is a twisty ghost story with all the style of a classical Hollywood picture, but all the chills of a modern horror flick.”
The Sixth Sense can be viewed on Peacock or Prime Video. Alternatively, it can be streamed by renting or purchasing on Google Play or Vudu.
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Seven years later, in 2008, M. Night Shyamalan directed, produced and wrote an idiosyncratic thriller, The Happening. Its plot centers around an inexplicable natural disaster causing mass suicides and the global panic that ensues when survivors begin to fear their impending deaths. Its cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo and Betty Buckley. Shyamalan describes The Happening as a 1960s paranoia film similar to The Birds (1963) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
The Happening was Shyamalan’s first R-rated film and grossed $162,778,384 worldwide. It was deemed inconsistent, which was partially why critics failed to see its impact. Stephen King, the author of the terrifying horror novel, IT, stated: “Of Fox’s two summer creep shows (the other being The X-Files: I Want to Believe), give the edge to The Happening, partly because M. Night Shyamalan really understands fear, partly because this time he’s completely let himself go, and partly because after Lady in the Water, he had something to prove.”
The Happening can be streamed on Disney+ and Prime Video.
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The Visit is a found-footage comedy horror that M. Night Shyamalan directed, wrote and co-produced. Its premise centers around two young siblings, Becca (Olivia DeJonge), and her preteen younger brother, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), who live with their single divorced mother (Kathryn Hahn), who had left home 15 years ago and is estranged from her parents. After finding their grandchildren online and wanting to meet them, the grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) invite them to spend a week at their farmhouse, but strange events begin to occur that make them question their safety and their grandparents’ sanity.
Scott Mendelson from Forbes called Shyamalan’s film a “deliciously creepy and funny little triumph.” He also wrote, “The Visit is the one we’ve been waiting for, folks. It’s good. Oh my word, is it good. But more importantly, it is excellent in that specific way that reminds us why M. Night Shyamalan was once such a marvel.”
The Visit can be streamed on Prime Video or Netflix.
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Split is a psychological horror and standalone sequel to Shyamalan’s 2000 film Unbreakable, which became a trilogy that includes Glass (2019). It follows Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man suffering from a dissociative identity disorder with 23 different personalities. He abducts three teenage girls; Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire Benoit (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula) and keeps them in his basement for unknown reasons. As Kevin’s therapist delves deeper into his mysterious psychological disorder, the girls try to escape before a sinister 24th personality reveals itself.
Grossing $278 million worldwide, it was the commercially successful follow-on from The Visit to continue Shyamalan’s thriller exploration. The Guardian‘s Steve Rose had strong praise for McAvoy, opining that the actor “does a fine and fearless job of selling his character’s varied personae”. He commended McAvoy’s ability to switch personalities in one scene toward the end of the film, saying: “It’s a little like the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2. But there are no special effects here, just acting.”
Split is available to stream on Prime Video. Additionally, it can be rented or purchased on the iTunes Store, YouTube, Vudu and Google Play.
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Old, as seems to be Shyamalan’s brand, is a thriller film written, produced and directed by the main man himself. It was based on the French-language Swiss graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. Shyamalan decided to adapt Sandcastle into a film after receiving it as a Father’s Day gift.
Its plot follows a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they have been relaxing on for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly — reducing their entire lives into a single day. Its ensemble cast includes Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie and Abbey Lee. The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody wrote that “with spare methods and sharp images, the director turns a simple premise into potent fantasy.” It grossed $90.1 million worldwide and received praise for its cinematography and concept.
Old is available to rent on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play and Microsoft.
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Chase is an anime, television and movie features writer for CBR. An award-winning screenwriter, published poet and accomplished academic writer, they have taken the media industry by storm; they have produced short stories, scripts, articles, features and poetry that thoroughly engage, excite and thrill those fortunate enough to read them. As a self-proclaimed geek, they enjoy watching anime, horror movies and animated shows. Their life revolves around cinema, video games and literature. If lost, please return to Jessica Jones. They can be found on Instagram @chaseswilkinson.


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