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What Is M. Night Shyamalan's Best Movie?

M. Night Shyamalan

M Night Shyamalan was born on August 6, 1970, in Mahé, Pondicherry, India, and raised in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most intriguing and influential writer-directors. Best known for his unique blend of suspense, supernatural elements, and surprise endings, Shyamalan’s films often explore the boundaries of human experience and the unseen dimensions of everyday life.

Shyamalan’s passion for storytelling was evident from a young age. After his family moved to the United States, he began making short films with a Super 8 camera as a child. This early inclination towards filmmaking set the stage for his later studies at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York.

Shyamalan’s major breakthrough came with the release of “The Sixth Sense” in 1999. The film, centered around a young boy who claims he can see and communicate with the dead, took audiences by storm with its blend of eerie atmospheres and its unforgettable twist ending. “The Sixth Sense” was not only a commercial success but also received critical acclaim, garnering six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Shyamalan.

Following the success of “The Sixth Sense,” Shyamalan continued to carve a niche for himself with films that blended suspense with emotional depth. Movies like “Unbreakable” (2000), “Signs” (2002), and “The Village” (2004) further established his reputation for crafting films with intricate plots and unexpected revelations.

However, as with any artist, Shyamalan’s career has seen both highs and lows. While some films, like “The Happening” (2008) and “After Earth” (2013), received mixed reviews, Shyamalan has never shied away from experimentation.

His return to form came with “The Visit” in 2015, a found-footage horror-comedy that surprised both critics and audiences. This resurgence continued with “Split” (2016), which not only performed well at the box office but also contained a surprise ending that…let’s just say was magical. It confirmed that M. Night was back. His  interconnected universe culminated in “Glass” (2019), bringing characters from both movies into a climactic showdown.

But what is M. Night’s best work? Let’s vote on it.

Year Title Box Office
1992 Praying with Anger N/A
1998 Wide Awake $282,175
1999 The Sixth Sense $672.8 million
2000 Unbreakable $248.1 million
2002 Signs $408.2 million
2004 The Village $256.7 million
2006 Lady in the Water $72.8 million
2008 The Happening $163.4 million
2010 The Last Airbender $319.7 million
2013 After Earth $243.8 million
2015 The Visit $98.5 million
2016 Split $278.5 million
2019 Glass $246.9 million
2021 Old $90.2 million
2023 Knock at the Cabin $54.8

What Is M. Night Shyamalan's Best Movie?

Praying with Anger

Praying with Anger is M. Night Shyamalan’s directorial debut, a drama where he also stars as an American student traveling to India to discover his roots. It touches upon cultural differences and the journey of self-discovery. Though not as well-known as his later works, it gave a glimpse of his storytelling prowess.

  • Year Released: 1992
  • Opening Votes: 0%

Wide Awake

Wide Awake is a coming-of-age comedy-drama that focuses on a young boy’s quest to find God after the death of his grandfather. It’s a heartfelt exploration of faith, loss, and the questions children ask during crucial developmental years.

  • Year Released: 1998
  • Opening Vote: 0%

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense remains one of M. Night Shyamalan’s most iconic films. This supernatural psychological thriller revolves around a boy who can see and communicate with the dead and his psychologist’s attempts to help him. Known for its twist ending, the film became a cultural phenomenon.

  • Year Released: 1999
  • Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
  • Opening Vote: 34.48


Unbreakable is a superhero thriller that follows the journey of a man discovering his superhuman abilities after surviving a catastrophic train accident. The film is praised for its unique take on the superhero genre and its atmospheric storytelling.

  • Year Released: 2000
  • Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
  • 17.24%


Signs is a sci-fi thriller that chronicles the experiences of a former priest and his family as they confront a series of mysterious crop circles and potential extraterrestrial activity. The film delves deep into themes of faith, family, and fear.

  • Year Released: 2002
  • Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
  • 14.94%

The Village

The Village is a psychological thriller set in a secluded 19th-century village. The story revolves around the townspeople’s fear of the creatures in the woods surrounding them and a love story at its core. It is known for its atmospheric tension and surprise twists.

  • Year Released: 2004
  • Distributor: Touchstone Pictures
  • 2.3%

Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water is a fantasy drama set in an apartment complex where the superintendent discovers a mythical sea nymph in the pool. The film is a modern fairy tale, replete with Shyamalan’s signature storytelling and unexpected twists.

  • Year Released: 2006
  • Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • 3.45%

The Happening

The Happening is a sci-fi horror film centered around a mysterious airborne toxin causing people to end their lives. As with many of Shyamalan’s works, the film probes deeper themes, in this case, environmental concerns, while providing the suspense the director is known for.

  • Year Released: 2008
  • Distributor: 20th Century Fox
  • Opening Vote: 4.60%

The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender is Shyamalan’s adaptation of the popular animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The film follows a young boy named Aang, who can manipulate the four elements and is destined to bring balance to a world at war.

  • Year Released: 2010
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Opening Vote: 0%

After Earth

After Earth is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith. It follows a father and son who crash-land on Earth, a thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity to flee.

  • Year Released: 2013
  • Distributor: Columbia Pictures
  • Opening Vote: 1.15%

The Visit

The Visit is a found footage horror film about two siblings who visit their grandparents and uncover disturbing secrets. Shyamalan masterfully weaves tension and dark humor into a chilling narrative.

  • Year Released: 2015
  • Distributor: Universal Pictures
  • Opening Vote: 1.15%


Split is a psychological horror-thriller that delves into the life of a man with 23 distinct personalities. The film’s suspenseful plot, combined with a standout performance by James McAvoy, was widely praised.

  • Year Released: 2016
  • Distributor: Universal Pictures
  • Opening Vote: 13.79%


Glass serves as a sequel to both “Unbreakable” and “Split,” bringing characters from both films into a thrilling climax. The film delves into the psychology of its protagonists and offers a fresh perspective on the superhero genre.

  • Year Released: 2019
  • Distributor: Universal Pictures
  • Opening Vote: 5.75%


In “Old,” Shyamalan delivers a suspenseful horror-thriller set on a secluded beach where time seems to move at an accelerated pace, causing the visitors to age rapidly. The film delves into the human experience of aging and the passage of time, wrapped in Shyamalan’s signature suspense and unexpected twists.

  • Year Released: 2021
  • Box Office: $90.2 million
  • Opening Vote: 0%

Knock at the Cabin

“Knock at the Cabin” is another of Shyamalan’s forays into suspense-filled narratives. While specific plot details might be beyond this entry’s scope, the film’s earnings indicate a reception that confirms Shyamalan’s ability to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. It continues his tradition of crafting atmospheric and tension-filled cinematic experiences.

  • Year Released: 2023
  • Box Office: $54.8 million
  • Opening Vote: 1.15%