films seen
average score
India - 53 years old
Alive and kicking
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Best known for his surprise/twisty endings, personally I prefer his slightly weirder, more fantasy-driven films. His oeuvre's a bit hit-and-miss, but if you like to keep track of the darker side of contemporary cinema there's no avoiding him.


Knock at the Cabin

2023 / 100m - USA
Horror, Mystery
Knock at the Cabin poster

Shyamalan's latest feels familiar. A mysterious setup that slowly reveals its true nature. It's not quite as mysterious or surprising as some of his more recent efforts, but the quality is there. Within his oeuvre, it's not the most unique film, but nobody's making them like Shyamalan these days, and that definitely counts for something.

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Wen is on vacation with her two dads, when a strange man shows up. He has three accomplices with him, the four come with a very peculiar offer and will do everything in their power to convince the others they're not crazy. Wen and her family will be forced to make some very tough choices, but the fate of the world rests in their hands.

Kudos to Shyamalan for the Kiki's Delivery Service shoutout, the premise is pretty cool (even though the finale is rather predictable) and the build-up is tense, as it should be. Knock at the Cabin is a small film that still feels relatively big, and had me in its grip from start to finish. Good fun.


2021 / 108m - USA
Horror, Mystery
Old poster

Shyamalan's latest is another dark mystery, elevated by some light fantastical and horror touches. It's nice to see him put his own cinematic universe in the freezer again, instead chasing something more original and conceptual. The result is a very peculiar film that keeps its mystery alive until the very end.

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While on a tropical holiday, a family is offered a chance to visit a majestic cove. Together with a few other couples, they arrive at what looks to be a forgotten bit of paradise. When a corpse washes up on the shores and their way back appears mysteriously blocked, they start to suspect the cove is housing a deadly secret.

While the premise is interesting enough, Shyamalan put a lot of effort into the cinematography and soundtrack to enhance the mystery. The free-roaming camera in particular is a real treat, as it often traverses the cove with seemingly no regard to the actors' positions. Performances are a little odd and the finale may not be entirely satisfactory, but I had a lot of fun with this one. One of Shyamalan's better films.


2016 / 117m - USA
Horror, Thriller
Split poster

The Visit

2015 / 94m - USA
Comedy, Horror
The Visit poster

M. Night Shyamalan returns with a new film. Long ago that would've reason enough for considerable hype and pent-up anticipation. Nowadays his films are considered a success if they aren't tossed aside after their first week in theater (if they get there at all). The popular narrative is that it all went downhill after Unbreakable, each film worse than the one before. Personally I don't subscribe to that narrative, I like Shyamalan best when he's mixing horror and fantasy with some tongue in cheek thrown in for good measure. I consider Lady in the Water and The Happening to be his best films, so I was more than happy to see that The Visit was somewhat revisiting that territory.

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The Visit is not your run of the mill found footage horror (and not because it's actually a faux documentary, I'm not that pedantic). Sure enough, most (if not all) of the footage is coming from a handycam operated by a little documentary director to be, but it never actually feels like it wants to be part of that niche. It feels more like a traditional horror film, with some slight 80s influences (mostly because the film is told from the perspective of two teens) and a stronger focus on the mysterious, rather than going for some quick jump scares.

The film follows Becca (15) and Tyler (13), who're on their way to visit their grandparents. Their mother ran away from home before they were born and this marks the first time they're going to see their grandma and grandpa. Becca is handy with a camera and decides to turn the trip into a documentary, hoping to uncover what happened on that faithful day when her mom eloped (and ultimately, to bring the family back together). Meanwhile, mom goes on a welcome holiday with her newest lover.

While the trip starts off well, it soon dawns on Becca and Tyler that their grandparents are a little odd. Grandma walks around at night and suffers from sundown syndrome while grandpa turns out to be incontinent, hiding his "little accidents" in the shed. Things get increasingly weirder though and what started as a fun and exciting trip is quickly turning into a restless nightmare.

Shyamalan includes a few jump scares and a few classic horror build-ups, but ultimately aims at a different kind of horror. Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie shine as nana and pop pop, portraying two elderly people who are strange, a little creepy, but ultimately just old and alien-looking in the eyes of the two teens. This fear of ageing is what keeps the tension strong and lingering, even when Shyamalan throws around some goofy and quirky bits left and right (Jerry the police man being my favorite).

Yes, there is a little twist at the end and yes, it will make a second viewing a somewhat different experience, but in contrast to films like Signs, The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable, there is more to The Visit than just the twist. It's a strong mix of horror, tension and tongue in cheek fun. It's creepy when it needs to be, it's funny when it wants to be. The only point of critique I have is that the middle part is a little too slow due to some mediocre attempts at additional drama. Instead I would've preferred a little extra grandma and grandpa time.

The Visit is not a film that will appeal to the masses. It doesn't have the big twist, it's not laden with jump scares and there aren't any vampires or demons to spruce things up. On the other hand, it makes The Visit a unique experience that stands as one of the better, if not the best Shyamalan film I've seen so far. It's not an easy film to blindly recommend, but it's sure worth a try if you're in for a little gamble.

The Happening

2008 / 91m - USA
Horror, Mystery
The Happening poster

Lady in the Water

2006 / 110m - USA
Fantasy, Mystery
Lady in the Water poster


2002 / 106m - USA
Sci-fi, Mystery
Signs poster

The Last Airbender

2010 / 103m - USA
Fantasy, Adventure
The Last Airbender poster


2019 / 129m - USA
Fantasy, Thriller
Glass poster

Completely unnecessary. I didn't really see the point of bringing the Unbreakable and Split universes together, definitely not when it's just to conjure up some infantile comic book referencing plot. The actors do a solid job and the film looks decent enough, but it's a bore from start to finish. Shyamalan can do so much better.


2000 / 106m - USA
Mystery, Thriller
Unbreakable poster

After Earth

2013 / 100m - USA
Sci-fi, Adventure
After Earth poster

The Sixth Sense

1999 / 107m - USA
Horror, Mystery
The Sixth Sense poster

The Village

2004 / 108m - USA
Mystery, Thriller
The Village poster