6. The Village (2004)
Starring an ensemble cast consisting Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Bryce Dalla Howard, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and Brendan Gleeson; ‘The Village’ is a psychological horror film. What makes this film a worth watch is how Shyamalan inculcates acting, cinematography and music to craft the film. Unlike the first four films on this list, this 2004 flick is quite intricately written and comes with a peppery twist ending. Although the film has a divided view by critics, it certainly isn’t a bad venture by the director. A special mention – ‘The Village’ employs a brilliant musical score and earned the fourth Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Score for American composer James Newton Howard.
5. Praying with Anger (1992)
It’s quite depressing that ‘Praying with Anger’ has still not got a theatrical release. The debut feature of the 47 year old director, this 1992 drama is about a young Indian American’s return to India who rediscovers his alienated identity. Starring Shyamalan as Dev Raman, the film has gained a cult following due to its innate take on Western values, Indian values and identity alienation.
4. Unbreakable (2000)
‘Unbreakable’ shows how a filmmaker should deftly amalgamate two different genres and create a poetical brilliance. Starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, this superhero thriller film is weird in every sense.
‘Unbreakable’ is the story of a security guard named David Dunn, who after barely surviving a horrific train crash seems to have been possessed by superhuman powers. While learning about his newly found supremacies, he comes across an apparently helpful disabled comic book shop owner named Elijah Price. However through his exploration and exploits, he learns about the true nature of Elijah Price. Interestingly, this 2000 flick is much more similar to a comic book narrative than a usual film. Creating a three-part narration, it is very well crafted with the actors perfectly en-capturing their roles. This film can be said to have marked the “brilliance” and “eccentricity” of the filmmaker and ‘Unbreakable’ is often regarded as one of the best superhero films. Also, to add one more praise – James Newton Howard’s musical score is the stuff of a genius.
3. Signs (2002)
This is at a time when Shyamalan was at the top of his game. Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, the 2002 film again showcased Shyamalan’s adroitness in infusing two different genres. The science fiction horror film is about a family living in a farm which finds mysterious crop circles or “signs”. Little is known that these signs signify an impeding peril. ‘Signs’ was both a commercial and critical success, with it receiving quite a many accolades. Shyamalan’s film all the more accentuated by James Newton Howard’s musical score and is a must watch for horror movies lovers.
2. Split (2016)
With ‘Split’, M. Night Shyamalan officially announces his return to cinematic brilliance. Another deft amalgamation of psychology and horror, the film stars James McAvoy as s Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man suffering for dissociative identity disorder who has 23 different personalities. One of his personalities, “Dennis” kidnaps Anya Taylor-Joy’s Casey Cooke. Things go bad to worse as Crumb’s 24th personality is about to activate which is “The Beast”. To begin with, the film itself stars with a classic Shyamalan absurdity as it is a standalone sequel to ‘Unbreakable’ (2000). The film is teeming with thrilling elements which is the result of a sold script by rhe filmmaker. The film’s financial and critical success has now successfully spawned a sequel titled ‘Glass’ and essentially gifts us with a potentially definitive trilogy.
1. The Sixth Sense (1999)
The film which put Shyamalan on the map is still to be topped. Although this 1999 supernatural horror-thriller film is about a young boy named Cole Sear who is able to “see and talk to the dead”. In order to cure this situation, his family calls in an equally troubled psychologist named Michael Crowe. ‘The Sixth Sense’ introduced the world to Shyamalan’s indulgence in twist endings which acted as an archetype for future Shyamalan projects.
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