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.
The ending of The Sixth Sense is arguably the most famous film twist of all time, but maybe it should have been more obvious. When Cole utters his famous line to Dr. Malcolm, the camera immediately cuts to Dr. Malcolm.
Cole clearly sees Dr. Malcolm, and the camera makes it apparent. Malcolm is one of those people.
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.
It can be difficult to hold a conversation with somebody who is no longer living. And though audiences could be excused for thinking that Dr. Malcolm’s wife in The Sixth Sense didn’t speak to him during their dinner because she hated it him, looking back it was clearly because he was, you know, not alive.
Although Ivy is blind in The Village, she can still see the “auras” of certain people, like Lucius or her father. We know she can’t see Noah, however, because early in the film he manages to sneak up on her.
This is important because later in the movie, Ivy is also unable to see the monster who’s attacking her. That monster turns out to be Noah, who we already learned she’s unable to sense. It’s a clue these monsters might not be actual evil creatures and more just people in weird costumes.