The best & worst of M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan is a talented yet controversial director that has directed a wide variety of movies. Though he’s best known for his horror films, he has directed fantasy adventures, dramas, and even comedies. He had already directed two movies before 1999’s “The Sixth Sense” made him a household name.

“The Sixth Sense” was widely praised when it opened for featuring a subtle build into dread, an elaborate script, well realized characters, and a twist ending that was truly shocking. Since then, he has utilized twist endings into nearly all of his movies. Often, these twists were successful. Other times, they were not. While “The Sixth Sense” remains his most popular and highly regarded film, Shyamalan has directed other widely respected films.

He has also directed some widely panned films. 2008 was something of an attempted comeback attempt for Shyamalan. His last few movies had been departures from his horror formula. “The Happening” was his attempt to move back into the realm that had made him famous. The same year’s “The Last Airbender” was a fantasy film adaption of the popular “Avatar” cartoon. Both were big budgeted and highly promoted upon their release.

“The Happening” was panned upon its release, with 17% on the “Rotten Tomatoes” meter. It was mocked for its strange script, poor acting, and unbelievable plot. “The Last Airbender” was also a critical failure, receiving only 6% at Rotten Tomatoes. However, it was a box office success and many fans loved the martial arts sequences. Texas-born actor Noah Ringer was especially praised for his skills in the lead role. Ringer was not only a convincing actor, but skilled in the martial arts.

In spite of the reception to his most recent movies, Shyamalan is widely praised for at least two other films. “Unbreakable,” his 2000 followup to “The Sixth Sense,” was highly successful when it was released. It was a post-modern superhero story, featuring excellent acting from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. It delved into the consequences of super powers and how they affected real life people. It was named one of the top 10 superhero movies of all time by Time Magazine.

2002’s “Signs” was also highly praised for its realistic portrayal of an alien invasion and was another big success for Shyamalan. However, many people don’t realize that Shyamalan was actually the writer for 1999’s highly successful and beloved live action “Stuart Little” adaptation.