Writer and director M. Night Shyamalan is returning to the big screen with Old, which promises to be a fresh start for the director who defined modern suspense films in the 2000s. Every one of his projects in his two-decade catalog—from The Sixth Sense all the way through his Unbreakable trilogy—carries with it a unique theme: fear. So, we wonder, what are his movies afraid of?
I’ve compiled a list of Shyamalan’s biggest films from the past 22 years, starting with 1999's The Sixth Sense through his upcoming film Old. Instead of ranking each one on quality—because, let’s be honest, most of us are in agreement about which ones are good and which are bad—I decided to explore what fear is present and explored in each film (keep in mind this is a subjective list but one that is also 100% correct). This culminates in an overall fear that’s present in all his work. Well, except for She’s All That. Yep, Shyamalan worked on the script for the classic ‘90s “boy meets nerd and gives her a makeover” movie. Though the only thing to fear in that one is being “wack.”
- The Sixth Sense (1999): Death
- Old (2021): Mortality
- Signs (2002): Faithlessness
- The Village (2004): Isolationism
- Lady in the Water (2006): Irrelevancy
- The Happening (2008): Climate Change
- The Last Airbender (2010): Adaptations
- Devil (2010): Well, You Know...
- After Earth (2013): Fear Itself
- The Visit (2015): Deceit
- Unbreakable (2000): Weakness
- Split (2016): Being Predictable
- Glass (2019): Franchises
- So, What Are M. Night Shyamalan’s Films Afraid Of?