Poll: Best Shyamalan Film?

I think I know which one will win, but I don’t know which will take 2nd.



65 thoughts on “Poll: Best Shyamalan Film?

  1. I voted for “The Village” ’cause i liked it a lot. But all his past five movies, including LITW, are damn gud.

    I watched LITW y’sday and my reaction was……WOW.

    He is a genius.


  2. I liked Unbreakable a lot. The Sixth Sense was pretty good, but I thought it laid the cheap thrills on a bit thick (which is typical for Shyamalan).

  3. I would have to say Unbreakable by a nose over Sixth Sense. Sixth Sense was a great movie experience but I found Unbreakable absolutely fascinating. But I gotta tell you, The Village is rigth behind those two.

    I saw Unbreakable opening night, and you would not believe the sighs. People started to ask for refunds. I couldn’t believe it.

    I think the Hitchock/Shymalan comparisons are fair in the discrepancy between the critics’ opinions and the viewers’. Overall, the critics didn’t think too kindly of Hitchcock, especially his personal favorite, Vertigo.

  4. Overall, the critics didn’t think too kindly of Hitchcock, especially his personal favorite, Vertigo.

    Huh? It’s my understanding that Hitchcock is lauded by critics everywhere as one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time and Vertigo is pretty universally regarded among same critics as his best. Seriously, pull up any “Top XX directors of all time” list you can find and Hitchcock is pretty much guaranteed to be in the top 5.

  5. Brian V., he is NOW. But at the time of his movies’ release, the critics weren’t too kind save for a few (Rear Window, Psycho). Hitchcock was so fed up with many things in Hollywood, he eventually returned to England.

    I have a feeling this will be how Shyamalan can be regarded if he makes a comeback.

  6. Unbreakable is… quite unfulfilling. It’s well-executed, but there’s just nothing there.

    The Sixth Sense remains Shyamalan’s best (and only) work.

  7. I wasn’t crazy about the Sixth Sense. I don’t think it played fair with the twist at the end.

    Unbreakable is my favorite. Signs was merely disappointing, but The Village was an abomination.

  8. I loved Unbreakable. The one part that drove me nuts, though, was at the very end (when you realize the twist) and they put up the explanation notes of what happens. LAME!!!! I don’t want to know all that, let me imagine what happens next. It’s okay to have a bad guy still alive at the end of a movie, especially a comic book movie!!

    And I’d agree that Sixth Sense was good, signs was dissappointing, and The Village was terrible.

  9. Rusty, I saw Unbreakable in Europe, and there was no scrolling text at the end. It was amazing, and I was deeply disappointed to see it in the U.S. version.

  10. For the record, I also think Signs is pretty underrated as a story of faith. It’s a horrible space invasion movie, but a pretty good movie about faith.

  11. And D., I don’t think I get you when you say that The Sixth Sense is Shyamalan’s only work. What can that mean?

  12. It was a wrap-up. Something to the effect of…Bruce Willis leading the authorities to the Comic Book shop where evidence of terrorism was found. Elijah is now imprisoned in a facility for the criminally insane…

    It did seem lame, as if it were a true story or something.

  13. I thought most people hated Unbreakable. I really liked it, but Sixth Sense is awesome. “I see dead people.” Come on!

  14. This is the type of community that Unbreakable would appeal to. Like I said earlier, when I saw it, the theatre was filled with a lot of older people who sighed their whole way through it. It was very annoying.

  15. I liked Unbreakable,

    but the Sixth Sense – I love that movie, especially the relationship between mother & son. Just like Signs is not really an alien invasion movie, Sixth Sense is a movie about love – masquerading as a ghost movie.

  16. Very true Jennifer.

    Plus I love to open all the cupboard doors in my kitchen and leave it that way for my kids to find.

  17. I don’t think that Unbreakable wrapped everything up at the end. Mr. Glass is still alive, after all, and how hard is it really for a supervillain to escape from a prison for the mentally insane? I thought the ending text was in perfect keeping with the fact that the film was a comic book…

    And it’s definitely Shyamalan’s best, despite D.’s flippant (and opaque) “critique.”

  18. 1. Signs
    2. Unbreakable
    3. Wide Awake
    4. The Sixth Sense
    5. The Village
    6. Lady in the Water

    For the record, I really liked Lady in the Water, which is just to point out how much I love the rest of Shyamalan’s films. Signs is just about as perfect as filmmaking gets.

  19. Eric wins the Most Correct Opinion award for this thread for putting Signs #1 and for ranking the movies exactly how I would (except for Wide Awake, which I haven’t seen yet).

    For your prize, hit up a gainfully employed KBer for lunch or something.

  20. Interesting list, Eric. I’d rank the same as you if we’re talking U.S. end-text-included Unbreakable.

  21. For me the problem with Signs is that an intelligent alien race that is allergic to water for some reason chose to invade a planet that is 75% covered with water. (Aside from that I really liked the movie.)

  22. It warms my heart to see a lot of other people here really liked Unbreakable. As Susan M said, basically everyone I have talked to hated it. I loved it. (My only beef was that the whole home invasion bad guy episode was a bit too graphic for that movie I thought.)

  23. Geoff J,

    You sound more like my dad with every comment. Not a bad thing, either. My Dad was a huge UFO nut, had all of the books, seen all of the movies. He was as anxious as ever to see this movie but hated it for the same reason you just said. Water?

    Of course, it’s not really an alien movie–or so they say. 🙂

  24. Well I’m certainly no UFO connoisseur. But I do know what 75% mean.

    As I said, I think the movie was excellent study of fear and faith and was beautifully crafted. I really did like the movie. But come on… water? Were all of his good ideas completely dry by the time he had to wrap the plot up? From a business/marketing standpoint, if he just put in a little more effort he could have made a LOT more money with that movie I think — and that without compromising the real art and beauty of the film.

  25. Damn straight, Tim. Signs is about a man and his struggle with faith and fear. Which is why I don’t care about the unspectacular alien or the water problem. As far as I’m concerned it would have been the same movie if the invaders were Canadians.

  26. I agree with geoff j. concerning the water problem. for one, an intelligent alien race that happens to be allergic to water would never invade the “water planet.” but worse for me, was that it took everyone so long to figure that out. — The aliens didn’t just invade Fresno CA (the arid home of my youth). They also invaded Oregon (my rainy current home) and Brazil. It had to have been raining somewhere right when they landed. I guess that aspect just bothered me too much to enjoy the rest.

  27. *And it’s definitely Shyamalan’s best, despite D.’s flippant (and opaque) “critique.”*

    Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I, of course, didn’t actually call anyone on their’s.

    Unbreakable didn’t work for me, and many other people. The Sixth Sense is a thriller with real feeling, an unusual combination.

  28. I chose the Sixth Sense. The writing was better and the characters were more gripping. The shifts in all the characters (the boy, Willis, the mom, and the wife) were complete. It felt real.

    I love Unbreakable, but the only real character in the whole movie is Willis. It is around this point in his career that Samuel Jackson began to prepare himself for a future in Snakes on a Plane.

  29. I found Unbreakable quite fascinating, for awhile. But it’s so ponderous, and ultimately, a real letdown (perhaps I’m reacting to the text “conclusions.”)

    The Sixth Sense was a movie I wanted to see again, immediately, which is a real unusual thing for me.

    As others have said, my particular favorite relationship in that movie was between Toni Colette and Haley (who gives perhaps the greatest performance by a child ever recorded in a movie).

  30. Haley was cheated out of an Oscar.

    That said, I prefer Unbreakable. Of all his films it relies the least on the twist ending. Compare that to The Village, which I predicted from the trailer was about luddites. Just guessing that ruined the movie for me.

    Signs simplified faith to a series of nonsense coincidences that made it seem like he was trying to throw every twist he could think of in at once. That said it had a real sense of tension and was an interesting take on the alien invasion movie.

    My list of those I’ve seen:
    1. Unbreakable
    2. The Sixth Sense
    then a big drop to
    3. The Village
    4. Signs

  31. “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I, of course, didn’t actually call anyone on their’s.”

    Both true, of course. But I stand by my opinion of your two-sentence review as both flippant and opaque (in the sense that it both dismissed many others’ positive reviews out of hand–“nothing there”–and did so with no explanation.)

    I think I’m sometimes moved to frustration by your reviews because you clearly have a lot to offer (you’ve seen more than anyone in this forum, I’d bet, and clearly have deep passion backing your opinions) but restrict your judgments to overbrief dismissal or praise. Give us more, Mr. Fletcher!

    That said, I’m sorry that I was also flip and opaque.

  32. I liked Unbreakable and Sixth Sense. The main difference between the two is that I’d be interested in seeing Unbreakable again.

    With most of Shyamalan’s movies I’m curious enough to see them once. I’m not sure how many of them I’d want to see more than once.

    Signs was a good film too. I’m not sure that the theme of faith works all that well. It functions to some degree. I disagree that it isn’t a movie about aliens. Take out the aliens and where would the story be?

  33. By the way, does it seem to anyone else that Shyamalan has some kind of reoccuring fascination with water? At least in Signs, Unbreakable and maybe this most recent film (which I haven’t seen). I dunno …

  34. The most important scenes in Signs, the heart of the movie, are when Gibson and Pheonix talk late at night about signs and miracles, when the family is gathered for dinner and Gibson refuses to pray, the asthma attack, when Gibson realizes that his wife’s dying words were a miracle, and the closing scene when when he’s wearing his pastor garb. The alien invasion is the backdrop in front of which the central narrative plays out and serves as the crisis that brings Gibson’s fear, faith, and anger to a head. The heart of Signs could be realized in the context of any number of frightening crises. The precise nature of the crisis is incidental. That’s why I say it’s not an alien invasion movie.

  35. The thing about Shayamalan is that I really think he tries to figure out how things like alien invasions, ghosts, and superheros would work in the real world (although, maybe that doesn’t apply to the latest). I think that he did that well in The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and he couldn’t, in the end, pull it off in Signs.

    That said, I agree with those who say that Signs wasn’t ever really about aliens. It is clearly about faith.

  36. I know, that’s exactly why, it’s kind of a joke. “I was abducted by aliens,” is exactly the thing most people don’t want to hear.

  37. As far as I’m concerned, it would have been the same movie if the invaders were Candadians.

    Are you kidding?? It would have been a much better movie if the invaders were Canadians! Swing away, indeed!

  38. You know, I have this sneaking suspicion that there might be invaders from Canada here among us, even now…

  39. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Unbreakable was winning the poll. It’s my clear favorite among Shyamalan’s films.

    Part of that is probably due to my having been a comic book fan while in college. And part of it may be due to the fact that my viewing of The Sixth Sense was spoiled by a reviewer who was too clever with his wording and gave away the twist. But I thought Unbreakable was a great movie, and have been somewhat bewildered by people who didn’t like it.

  40. danithew,

    Bruce Willis once mentioned to the press that Unbreakable was the first of a trilogy and then M. Night slapped him down saying that he was in charge of whether his movies were trilogies or not.

  41. Unbreakable is my vote. The Sixth Sense was exceptionally well done, I thought, but was too scary for me and I spent a bit of time in the lobby. All of those scenes where the camera rolls slowly toward someone’s back…I can’t handle it.

    Besides which, I have the dental equivalent of the bone disease of Samuel Jackson’s character: dentagenesis imperfecta. I know of noone with this rare hereditary condition besides my own family and extended family for several generations and we have all add extensive early dental work done. It is far easier to explain to my friends my daughter’s current dental work in the context of Unbreakable. I would have enjoyed the movie immensely even without the added interest.

    I have a friend who has same the bone disease as Samuel Jackson’s character, but to a far lesser extent than depicted in the movie.

  42. I can’t believe Unbreakable is winning. I love Signs for the religious commentary and Sixth Sense comes second. I’m just not a comic-book guy, I guess.

  43. Me too, Ben. I thought for sure The Sixth Sense would win. I’m pretty sure The Sixth Sense would win in a scientific survey of American moviegoers. Just goes to show that the KB crowd is a strange one.

    I’m even more surprised at how little love Signs is getting. I thought it would be a close battle for second between Signs and Unbreakable.

  44. Just to be sure, I spent some time this weekend looking at Signs, The Village and Unbreakable. Unbreakable is definitely the superior of these three, with some great detail and camerawork. Signs is second place, because thematically it is 100 times stronger than The Village, and it doesn’t peter out in the end the way that latter film does.

    Now, between Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, that’s a bona fide battle. I think The Sixth Sense wins in terms of plot, drama and action. That said, it doesn’t win in terms of character and real emotion. That’s got a lot to do with acting, but the gist is that Bruce Willis did a better job in Unbreakable than he did in The Sixth Sense.

  45. I too wanted to see “The Sixth Sense” again after viewing it the first time. The intrigue was so well woven together that after understanding what was really going on I wanted to go back and see the story “unraveled.”

    However, now that time has passed, if I were to view a Shyamalan film again it would probably be “Unbreakable.” Like D., I too thought it flattened a little after the middle of the story. But the mythos was so intriguing (to me) that I hung in there for what I thought was a good finish to the story.

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