M. Night Shyamalan Looks Back On His Cinematic Legacy Thus Far

Feb 7, 2023

Home Movie News M. Night Shyamalan Looks Back On His Cinematic Legacy Thus Far

Exclusive: M. Night Shyamalan discusses his legacy of horror films and how he feels about a new generation discovering his classic surprise twists.

M. Night Shyamalan looks back on his legacy as a filmmaker, from The Sixth Sense to Knock at the Cabin, and how it feels to meet a new generation that has discovered his classic horror films. Shymalan has had an impressive career, making a wide variety of horror films with shocking twists. With these movies, he’s explored a wide range of horror subgenres, including superheroes and science fiction. The Sixth Sense, which is widely regarded as his best film, put him on the map and was the start of Shyamalan becoming synonymous with unexpected twists.

A huge part of the Shymalan experience is the shocking reveal in the theater, which has become more difficult with social media and how well-known many of the plot developments are. The Sixth Sense’s infamous third-act reveal, for example, has become ingrained in pop culture and referenced in countless television series and movies. In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant to promote his new horror movie, Knock at the Cabin, Shyamalan looks back at his time as a filmmaker. He also shares the unexpected joy of a new generation of fans discovering his films.

M. Night Shyamalan: It’s been beautiful, you know? I’ve been around long enough now. I started when I was 21, and it’s so wild. My daughter is going to start her career, at 23, in film making. I’m like, “Wow, what a journey you’re about to go on!” And of course, her journey is tied to mine in some ways. It’s a different one.
I was in Europe when we started to have screenings of the movie, and the influencers there, from all over the world, would come over and meet me. They would be shaking, and they’d come over… They’re 19 or 21, and they’d say, “I loved this, and I went back and watched one of your movies called Signs.” They weren’t even born yet! They were like, “I saw this movie you did, an old movie called Signs! It’s so beautiful!” Or they’d say, “I saw a really old movie, Unbreakable!” And they were so taken with this. The idea that a new generation is going to watch my movies and learn, it makes me feel so… Everything I do, I have to do at the highest level of integrity. It is a body of work that will continually be seen and seen again.

Related: Why M. Night Shyamalan’s Movie Twists Are So Divisive

M. Night Shyamalan’s Filmmaking Legacy Continues With A New Generation

While The Sixth Sense has one of the most famous and beloved twist endings in film history, Shyamalan’s other films have had more divisive reactions. A new generation of fans can bring a new appreciation and perspective to his work without the bias of expectations. Following his first major box office success, Shyamalan had difficulty capturing that lightning-in-a-bottle experience with audiences, even with other fantastically unexpected revelations. His masterful and shocking conclusion to The Sixth Sense simply left an indelible impression on everyone’s minds.

Now, a new generation discovering his films can experience them completely fresh and appreciate the art of storytelling without his previous work hanging over the films. Knock at the Cabin and Old have proven his ability to not only adapt incredible source material but also find a way to tell the story in an unexpected way. While his surprising approach to the superhero genre with his Glass trilogy garnered attention for breaking the usual tropes of the genre.

His ability to horrify and surprise audiences while weaving a thread of hope is an impressive balancing act that has found a foothold in many different audiences over time. From The Sixth Sense to Knock at the Cabin, Shyamalan has found a way to tell poignantly human stories framed through horror. M. Night Shyamalan’s plot twists have been divisive since The Sixth Sense, but through a new generation, his storytelling continues to be appreciated through fresh eyes, showing that his legacy will last for generations to come.

Next: Every M. Night Shyamalan Movie Plot Twist Explained

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