10 of Our Favorite Spooky M. Night Shyamalan Movies

Some of M. Night Shyamalan's films can be divisive, but which of his spooky movies are our favorites?

By Dolores Quintana · @doloresquintana · August 6, 2023, 7:30 AM EDT
Image Credit: IMDB

M. Night Shyamalan has been making feature films for 31 years, and his newest film, Knock At The Cabin, was released this year and is his 15th feature. From his break-out hit The Sixth Sense to the bemusingThe Happening, we've never stopped being excited about what Shyamalan is cooking up next. Fango has already written about Shyamalan's next film, Trap, here.

1. The Sixth Sense (1999)


Image Credit: IMDB

The Sixth Sense is still far and away the favorite of all of M. Night Shyamalan's films. It was not just a hit film but became part of pop culture in a way that people still quote today. It was an iconic film in a year that saw the release of many now-classic films. Starring Bruce Willis, Hayley Joel Osment, and Toni Collette in an early role, it is part of the horror lexicon.

2. Split (2016)

SPLIT (2016)

Split stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley in the frightful tale of a man with 24 personalities. McAvoy plays Kevin Wendell Crum, who has dissociative identity disorder and kidnaps three girls. The girls are terrified and await the appearance of the 24th personality, The Beast. McAvoy won praise for portraying the character's many different personalities, and the film was a huge hit.

3. Signs (2002)

SIGNS (2002)

Image Credit: IMDB

Signs is another one of Shyamalan's best-liked films. An alien invasion movie that is also just as much about faith and family as it is about aliens, people can connect to it and the film's good-natured humor. People have never forgotten the alien's reveal during a news broadcast and Joaquin Phoenix's shocked reaction to seeing footage of the alien.

4. Unbreakable (2000)


Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Unbreakable centers on the idea of superheroes and supervillains as real and fallible people. It stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robin Wright. Jackson plays Elijah Price, a man born with osteogenesis imperfect, or a disease that renders his bone structure incredibly fragile. Price meets David Dunn (Willis) after he survives a train accident and trains him to recognize and nurture his extraordinary powers.

5. The Visit (2015)

THE VISIT (2015)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Visit is M. Night Shyamalan's found footage film. It stars Kathryn Hahn, Olivia DeJonge, and Ed Oxenbould. It concerns two children sent to visit their grandparents they have never met when their mother decides to go on a cruise with her boyfriend. The mother assumes all is well, but the children notice the grandparents' odd behavior. When their mother sees footage her kids have and realizes the pair are not her parents, things go awry.

6. Knock at the Cabin (2023)


Image Credit: IMDB

Knock at the Cabin, Shyamalan's newest film, proposes this quandary. What if someone told you to sacrifice someone you love to prevent the apocalypse? That is precisely the problem that a gay couple and their adoptive child are faced with when four strangers turn up at their vacation cabin. The film stars Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, and Rupert Grint. You can read more about the movie at Fango here.

7. Old (2021)

OLD (2021)

Image Credit: IMDB

Old is one of Shyamalan's weirdest films, and that's a good thing. It is his first venture into body horror and is about the world's strangest and most awful vacation day trip to the beach. The beach is one that none of the people in the party can escape from, and it is aging them at an ultra-fast rate. It stars Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, and Alex Wolff.

8. The Village (2004)


Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures

The Village stars many respected actors, including Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, and Brendan Gleeson. It is the story of a 19th-century village surrounded by monsters everyone fears. The film is charming and intense, but the twist ending didn't work for everyone. You either love it or you don't.

9. Glass (2019)

GLASS (2019)

Image Credit: IMDB

Glass is the third film in the Unbreakable trilogy that started with Unbreakable, continued with Split, and finally puts all three of the superhero characters, David Dunn / The Overseer (Bruce Willis), Elijah Price / Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), and Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde (James McAvoy) in the custody of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). Staple is part of a secret program bent on ensuring that human beings with extraordinary powers don't believe they have them. This is the finale that only M. Night Shyamalan could come up with.

10. The Happening (2008)


Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Yes, The Happening is bringing up the rear on this list. One of the films had to be last, and it is essential to include this less-than-successful entry into Shyamalan's filmography because, wow. It's still amazing that this movie got made, and I have to admit to a particular fondness for it. It is a horror about trees trying to kill humankind, and that's become more realistic over the years. It's brave, that's for sure. It stars Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel in two of the most confused performances ever put on film and John Leguizamo.