A return to this severely under-appreciated film, for its discussion of storytelling, interpretation, film criticism, artificiality, stylisation, interconnectedness – and whether stories can become real.
Our in-depth look at M. Night Shyamalan’s early films continues with Unbreakable: perhaps the only mainstream Hollywood formalist film, a mass-market movie approached with an unrelenting European art film sensibility.
A Shyamalan enthusiast is struggling mightily to come to terms with the conundrum of The Happening, a split identity film that swings wildly between excellence, rampant quirkiness and unchecked hysteria.
M. Night Shyamalan’s visual style consists of a series of recurring formal devices. Watching Unbreakable feels like participating in a ritual where these devices are applied and reapplied, in new variations and combinations.
After a general evaluation of this M. Night Shyamalan tour de force, the large cast of characters and their relationships are examined, with a special emphasis on subtext and how that is expressed through mise-en-scène.
M. Night Shyamalan has created a Signs fiction film about alien invasion, with powerful horror set pieces and comedic touches. An analysis of its dreamlike opening sequence peels away complex layers of motifs and echoes.
The cat-and-mouse sessions between psychiatrist and patient form a thrilling acting laboratory, where M. Night Shyamalan’s fundamentally static set-ups are done with rigour and discreet invention. Bonus: film references.
The new leaner, meaner version of M. Night Shyamalan has made a bizarre but thoroughly gripping film, providing an emotionally deep understanding of why psychological survival mechanisms arise in abuse victims.
Before The Visit came M. Night Shyamalan’s early masterpiece The Village. Mismarketed and misunderstood as a horror movie, it has gained a following as a mood piece of pastoral beauty, intense emotion and stylised lyricism.
We look at three outstanding scenes in this better-than-you-think M. Night Shyamalan film, along with its pervasive motif of figures in a landscape, visual rhymes and many occasions of elegant staging.
With the artistic, commercial and critical success of his two latest films, it is about time to soberly unearth the very real qualities of M. Night Shyamalan’s disproportionally maligned middle period.
A guide to the many powerful suicide scenes, including the brilliant, icily electrifying opening where normality turns into nightmare. Plus motifs, visual ideas and references to earlier Shyamalan works.
Signs offers rich allegorical subtexts of dreams, magic and the aliens as metaphors for the characters’ inner demons. We also chart references to The Birds, and analyse the masterful cellar sequence and the film’s ending.
M. Night Shyamalan is particularly adept at creating a set of hidden motifs that govern the film. We look at circles, water, doors, houses, the sky and how they operate in two brilliant horror set pieces.