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Top 10 Best M. Night Shyamalan Movie Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
We did NOT see that coming! Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Moments in M. Night Shyamalan Movies. For this list, we’re taking a look at the best scenes from films M. Night Shyamalan directed. Since Shyamalan is synonymous with twist endings, a spoiler alert is now in order. Watch the video at WatchMojo.com
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Top 10 Moments in M. Night Shyamalan Films


We did NOT see that coming! Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Moments in M. Night Shyamalan Movies.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the best scenes from films M. Night Shyamalan directed. Since Shyamalan is synonymous with twist endings, a spoiler alert is now in order.

#10: The Beast
“Split” (2016)


Carried by a phenomenal performance from James McAvoy, Kevin Wendell Crumb is one of the most disturbing characters Shyamalan has ever created. Initially housing what we're led to believe as 23 personalities, Kevin keeps us on edge throughout the entire film. But it's the mysterious 24th persona, known as Beast, that's built up the most. Once the Beast is finally unleashed, it becomes clear that Kevin is even deadlier than we initially thought. The Beast lives up to his name, savagely feeding on human flesh and bending metal bars with his bare hands. Even after the captive Casey shoots the Beast multiple times, there’s no stopping him. When the Beast sees Casey’s scars, however, he’s given a window into the abusive life she’s endured, thus deeming his prisoner too pure to slaughter.

#9: The Construction Workers
“The Happening” (2008)


Although this film earned Shyamalan some of the worst reviews of his career, it’s admittedly not without some legitimately harrowing and inspired imagery. The most unsettling moments are at the beginning, as New Yorkers start committing suicide for seemingly no apparent reason. At a construction site, it’s another ordinary day until a worker plummets onto a pile of rubble. What appears to be a freak accident turns out to be something much more contagious. As the mangled worker twitches in agony, another person falls, followed by another and then another. Looking up, we see pretty much the entire crew dropping like flies. It’s a visual that sticks with you, exemplifying how an ordinary day can suddenly escalate into your last.

#8: David Dunn Becomes The Overseer
“Unbreakable” (2000)


For many viewers, the biggest twist in “Unbreakable” is that it turned out to be a superhero movie. While still a thriller at its core, the film slowly evolves into something more akin to a graphic novel. The same can be said about David Dunn, who is in denial about his super powers at first, but eventually comes to accept his destiny. Draped in green, David crosses paths with several wrongdoers, although the standout is a murderous janitor in orange. Following the Janitor back to the house he’s invaded, David falls into a pool and nearly drowns. With some assistance from the captive children, however, David ultimately comes out on top in a final confrontation that balances gritty thrills with comic book colors.

#7: ‘Those Aren’t Your Grandparents”
“The Visit” (2015)


After experimenting with a couple projects outside of the horror and thrillers genres, Shyamalan returned to his roots in “The Visit.” This was still kind of uncharted territory for Shyamalan, though, as it was his first found footage film and – to a certain extent – his first comedy. For much of the film, we aren’t sure if Becca and Tyler’s grandparents are just quirky or dangerously insane. In the end, it turns out they aren’t their grandparents at all! Skyping with their mother, it dawns on the family that the children have been staying with complete strangers this whole time. This reveal is not only alarming, but also works as an unexpected comedic payoff. In that sense, it’s a hysterical moment in more ways than one.

#6: “Those We Don’t Speak of”
“The Village” (2004)


The final twist in this Shyamalan film might’ve divided audiences, but the opening scenes are ripe with creepy tension. Taking place in a village where people aren’t allowed to venture beyond the woods, the curious Lucius breaks the rules and steps out of bounds. This draws unwanted attention from the hooded woodland creatures, who plague the village one night. Panic breaks out across the community with people seeking refuge under floorboards. We’re only given a glimpse of the creatures draped in red as they leave marks on the front doors. The blind Ivy refuses to seek shelter without Lucius, who takes her hand just as a creature emerges. Suspenseful and mysterious, the scene is elevated by an Oscar-nominated musical score from James Newton Howard.

#5: Aliens in the Basement
“Signs” (2002)


When it comes to Shyamalan, less is usually more. The aliens are rarely seen in “Signs,” but you can always feel their ominous presence. When they invade the Hess farm in the climax, the family appears to be safe in the basement. Lulled into a false sense of security, the viewer gasps in horror as a hand reaches out of a chute and grabs Morgan. Although they prevent the alien from getting in, Morgan suffers an asthma attack with his medicine upstairs. In what’s possibly the most powerful scene in the film, Graham holds Morgan close and tries to comfort him. Wrestling with his fear and faith, the former priest manages to calm his son, allowing us all to let out a sigh of relief.

#4: Part of a Bigger Universe
“Split” (2016)


At first, it looked like the big twist in “Split” is that Kevin possesses supernatural abilities. Just before the credits start rolling, though, Shyamalan delivers a second twist that made us see the entire movie in a whole new light. Cutting to a diner, customers watch a news report that refers to Kevin as The Horde. One patron is quick to draw parallels between Kevin and a guy in a wheelchair who earned a similar supervillain nickname. Sitting next to her is none other than David Dunn, who confirms the person she’s talking about is Mr. Glass. For those who had waited over a decade and a half to see a continuation of “Unbreakable,” there’s little doubt that you cheered and applauded in the auditorium.

#3: “They Called Me ‘Mr. Glass’”
“Unbreakable” (2000)


It’s only fitting that’d we’d transition from the ingenious ending of “Split” to the shocking twist in “Unbreakable.” A hero can’t exist without an arch nemesis, at least that’s the comic book logic Elijah Price abides by. Determined to find his polar opposite, Elijah caused a series of accidents that inevitably brought him to David Dunn. Once David answers the call of heroism, Elijah drops the bombshell. He was the villain this whole time, killing innocent people to give himself a purpose in the grand scheme of things. In addition to being a jaw-dropping revelation, Elijah’s closing monologue is laced with fascinating and frightening philosophy. If someone’s destiny really is set in stone, then fate dealt Elijah the cruelest hand imaginable.

#2: “I See Dead People”
“The Sixth Sense” (1999)


Then at the age of 11, Haley Joel Osment became one of the youngest Oscar nominees in history for his chilling performance as Cole Sear. Early in the film, we’re not sure whether to be afraid of Cole or to fear for him. As the plot unfolds, we start to see that Cole is the one being tormented, but by what exactly? In this haunting scene, little Cole opens up to child psychologist Malcolm Crowe and tells him his secret: These four words have forever cemented their place in popular culture, even meriting a spot on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years...100 Movie Quotes.” Listening to Cole talk about his sixth sense, the audience just wants to crawl under a blanket and hide.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Crop Circles
“Signs” (2002)


Video Reveal
“The Sixth Sense” (1999)

Alien Caught on Tape
“Signs” (2002)

Kevin Takes the Girls
“Split” (2016)

Group Therapy
“Glass” (2019)

#1: Malcolm Was a Ghost All Along
“The Sixth Sense” (1999)


Our top pick shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When “The Sixth Sense” made its debut in 1999, though, nobody foresaw the film’s twist ending. Having helped Cole, Malcolm returns home in the hopes that he can reconcile with his wife. Noticing his wedding ring, it occurs to the psychologist that the gunshot wound he received at the beginning of film was more fatal than he realized. Accepting his fate, Malcolm gives his wife a tearful farewell before passing into the afterlife. Once the credits roll, the viewer immediately wants to rewatch the film in order to catch all the clues they missed the first time, like how Malcolm never interacts with anyone except Cole and how the color red is used to foreshadow death.
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