The list of living filmmakers who basically everyone in the world knows is pretty small. Steven Spielberg definitely. Martin Scorsese maybe. Quentin Tarantino probably. A few others for sure, but one that’s absolutely on that list is M. Night Shyamalan.
With his third feature film, 1999's The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan made himself into a brand name. Sit down for an M. Night Shyamalan film and you had no idea what you were going to get, but it was going to surprise you—maybe even scare you. At the start of his career, he piled up mega-blockbusters like they were nothing, but things eventually slowed down. He made a few stinkers. And years later, he was forced to reinvested himself, going from making big-budget blockbusters to lower-budget films with blockbuster potential.
The gamble paid off. Only a few years after rising to stardom, and then falling from grace, the Shyamalan-aissance began. And it continues—today is the release of the director’s 14th feature film, Old. Like his last several films, it’s a high concept idea executed on a smaller scale. For the occasion, we decided to rank Old as well as his other genre films. That means his directorial debut, the self-funded indie Praying With Anger, and his second film, the uncharacteristic Rosie O’Donnell dramatic comedy Wide Awake, aren’t on here. But everything from 1999 to 2021 is. Let’s see where they all fall.