M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography is littered with surprise twist endings. At the end of The Sixth Sense audiences learn Dr. Malcolm Crowe was dead all along, while in The Village the twist is the film’s events are set during modern times.
Thankfully, after a few critical disasters, Shyamalan triumphantly returned to the genre that kicked off his career. More recent Shyamalan films - such as The Visit and Split - make excellent use of Shyamalan’s signature twist endings.
When Shyamalan is at the top of his game, his films have a unique ability to shock an audience and force them to rethink each scene that came prior. In retrospect, the ending can seem almost obvious, yet somehow audiences always fail to notice those little signs and clues foreshadowing each film’s conclusion.
Elijah Explains Villains Are Usually Polar Opposites Of Heroes, Which He Is To David In 'Unbreakable'
Elijah spends a lot of time in Unbreakable explaining to David Dunn what the specific rules of comic books are. Elijah tells David villains tend to be polar opposites of the main heroes.
At this point in the movie it’s already obvious Elijah and David are entirely different: Elijah is a man with brittle bones, while David is a man with incredible strength. With that in mind, it almost feels as if Elijah is admitting to David his criminality.Is this sneaky?
The Kids In ‘The Visit’ Make Up A Story About Officer Jerry, But When Their Mom Calls The Police, She’s Told Officer Jerry Can’t Come To The PhonePhoto: Universal Pictures
Early in The Visit, the kids drive around town with Pop Pop and explain to him their favorite driving game. The gist is they pick a random building and then make up a story about somebody inside. As an example, Becca points to the police station and tells a story about Officer Jerry who is always late.
Later in the film, the kids’ mom calls the police to try and find out what’s going on. She’s told nobody can help her because Officer Jerry isn’t in at the moment. Clearly that implies that Pop Pop is on the other end, telling her a lie based on the fake story Becca came up with.
It’s one of the first clues that suggests there’s something sinister about the grandparents, and that they might not be who they say they are.Is this sneaky?
Way Back In ‘Unbreakable’ There’s A Comic Book Image That Shows Superman Fighting A Beast
Unbreakable was released a solid 16 years before Split, but even back then, director M. Night Shyamalan knew he wanted to expand his superhero universe to include Split’s The Horde character. The Horde was originally supposed to be in Unbreakable, but those scenes were cut before filming started.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t still hints of the character in Unbreakable. In one particularly telling scene, Mr. Glass shows a customer an image from a comic book depicting a Superman-like character squaring off against some sort of beast.
In retrospect, it appears to be a fantastical approximation of David Dunn battling The Horde.Is this sneaky?
The Music At The End Of ‘Split’ References The ‘Unbreakable’ ThemesPhoto: Universal Pictures
Only the most devout Unbreakable fans could have picked up on this genius moment of foreshadowing, but near the end of Split, the soundtrack sneaks in some of the Unbreakable theme. The music clearly points to Split’s surprising tie to the earlier film.Is this sneaky?