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M. Night Shyamalan: Wins and Fails

Updated on July 21, 2021
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I am an artist who loves to research cultural anthropology. I've been writing about how different cultures handle grief for over two years.

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M. Night Shyamalan - King of Thrillers

M. Night Shyamalan...Chances are that you have seen at least one of his thrillers. As a huge fan of Night, I have seen everything that he has ever produced. A lot of people have mixed reviews about Shyamalan's movies and while I feel I may be a bit bias, I am here to try and give the best unbiased review I can about this awesome Director/ Writer/ Producer/ Actor. These are the following movies I will be discussing from Oldest to Most Recent. For this article, I have chosen to omit reviewing the TV Series he has done...that is a discussion for a different day.

2019 - Glass
2016 - Split
2015 - The Visit
2013 - After Earth
2010 - Devil
2010 - The Last Airbender
2008 - The Happening
2006 - Lady in the Water
2004 -The Village
2002 - Signs
2000 - Unbreakable

2000 - Unbreakable

Anyone who has ever seen this movie knows how compelling it can be. Starring Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson you assume there will be a lot of action and cussing. You would be guessing right for the most part. The general synopsis of the movie is that these two men believe themselves to be super heroes; one good, one evil. On with incredible strength who believes he cannot be killed. The other believes he has super intelligence. The each have their own character strengths and faults.

2002 - Signs

Signs did not disappoint in the thriller category for the year it came out. At the time (an periodically throughout our fairly recent history) alien takeover has been a major fear. While there were other movie through these eras that cause an equal amount of unsettled feelings, this movie gave you just enough to keep you frightened. Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, with co-stars Abigail Breslin and Rory Culkin, a family who lived out on a farm a little distance from town started to notice crop circle appearing in their fields. This quickly lead to a world wide panic and preparation for the arrival of these aliens. I won't spoil the ending for you but I will let you know that many people were disappointed. I however, found it very interesting. I would suggest watching this movie late at night or at the very least in a dark room to get the full effect!

2004 - The Village

This movie still gives me chills to think about. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard as a blind girl who lives in community in an era you place to be in the late 1800s - early 1900's. The town the live in has a bit of a pest problem as the residents of the town are not permitted to leave their village for fear of being attacked by the creatures who live in the woods surrounding the town. You can only imagine the story that will unfold there. While there are so many mixed reviews about this movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it! However, twice is usually the number of times you will watch it before it goes back on the shelf for years. It is great to pull out an watch with someone who has never seen it before. I suggest watching late at night or in a dark room.

2006 - Lady in the Water

Another gem Starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Paul Giamatti. This is one of the most awesome fantasy movies I have ever seen. This is also one of the most controvesial movies on the topic of being good or not. I have found through my discussions of people who have seen this movie that it is not for everyone. I disagree with that statement though. I feel that if you know what type of movie it is supposed to be going in the experience will be better. This movie is meant to be unrealistic and in the realm of fantasy. It centers around a girl named Story who is from a tribe of water people who used to live in harmony with the humans. Eventually the humans ignored the water people and forgot all about them. THe basic synopsis of the movie is that Story must convince these humans to help her make a discovery to ultimately help the world. She enlist a strange bunch of people who all rally to her aid. There isn't many scary parts and is totally appropriate for older children. I would suggest watching in a dark room because most of the movie occurs at night.

2008 - The Happening

This is the first stop on our craptastic movie collection...oops I was supposed to be unbiased...oh well.

This movie left me wanting the hours of my life back I spent watching it. It was so disappointing. I went and saw it opening night; the theater was packed...but as the movie played on, there were less and less people. I managed to make it through the whole movie only to wish I hadn't wasted my time.

****Spoiler Alert******

I said I wouldn't give spoilers but this movie was so terrible I wouldn't even recommend watching it. The Grass was killing people because there were too many people on the planet...W...T...H....

While I thought the concept was cool the execution was just awful. This movie starred Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel and probably put a horrible dent in their careers. Just kidding :) they rebounded fine!

2010 - The Last Airbender

Stop #2 on the craptastic journey. While I did like this movie it was only ok and very rushed. As a SUPER FAN of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender watching this rendition brought me to tears. I do not fully blame M. Night Shyamalan as I know he asked for things to make the movie better such as a bigger budget and longer screen time. It would literally be impossible for him to cover all the important information and emotion that was caught in the series in a 2 hour movie. My biggest issue with the film was with casting. Whoever had cast this series had clearly never watched it an had only seen photos of the characters. The movie was overall rushed but the cinematics were awesome. I hope the live action series they plan to put on streaming channel will capture what this movie hardcore lacked.

2010 - Devil

What a confusing a delightful little thriller. No big names in this. I never even remember it hitting the big screen which means there may not have been much hype surrounding it. The basic synopsis is there are a few people stuck on an elevator and people just keep getting hurt, dying and disappearing. Why and who is causing all of this to occur and how can they be stopped. How do you stop the devil?

2013 - After Earth

Stop # 3 on the craptastic train. This movie has so much potential...like so much potential but Jaden Smith's performance butchered the movie. Will Smith (for the short time he was on screen) did an amazing job but unfortunately was overshadowed by Jaden's horrid...and I mean horrid acting. This movie actually stirs anger in me because of how amazing this movie would have been had they cast anyone else....literally anyone else. I just hope the fail at the box office finally showed Jaden that sometimes acting talent just isn't hereditary.

2015 - The Visit

Talk about scary for kids...being dropped of at a distant relatives house that you haven't seen in years only to find out...ahhh I just can't spoil it for you. Its too good. This movie was strange and definitely creeped me out. Definitely watch alone, or with older children, in a dark room at night.

2016 - Split

James McAvoy wow...just wow...This is my favorite movie in the Night Chronicles so far. Kevin has 23 personalities which McAvoy masters! His personalities are slightly under control but can come forth at anytime which makes for a truly compelling story line.

The basic synopsis of the movie is about a boy who created 23 personalities to protect himself from the horrors that occurred throughout his life. As a result, one of his personalities likes to kidnap girls. He is referred to as the Beast and is Kevin's anger manifested into a personality. This movie and Unbreakable are considered super/anti hero style. The are all on screen together in Glass which I reviewed further on in this article.

I would suggest watching this movie at anytime. For the full effect, watch alone in the dark.

2019 - Glass

This movie is a collaboration of all the super/anti heroes in the Night Chronicles. While it is not as good as Unbreakable and not even close to Split, it is still a good movie that follows the three heroes as they go through counseling to help them understand that their powers are not real but a figment that they believe to be true. Characters from all three movies join the cast to bring your emotions to full tilt. I recommend watching this movie at anytime of day.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Lain Golden

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    • Charlene Gallant profile image

      Charlene Gallant 

      11 days ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I loved Signs and devil the best! The others weren't so bad either but I just wont watch a few more than once. Thanks for this:)

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