M. Night Shyamalan Twists, Ranked From Worst To Best

Voting Rules
Vote up the worst twists in M. Night Shyamalan's career.

M. Night Shyamalan has kept moviegoers on the edge of their seats for over two decades with his signature plot-twist endings. From finding out the actual setting in The Village to discovering the cause of all the chaos in The Happening to realizing just how many dead people there are in The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan's films have garnered a cult following. That said, there are some plot twists that are just a little too hard to believe - even if the movie is set in an alternate reality.

Here are Shyamalan's films and their (sometimes) shocking plot twists - be warned: Spoilers abound. Some of these twists really do live up to their respective films, while others send the plot straight off the proverbial rails. Vote up Shyamalan's worst plot twists, and vote down the ones that were surprising in a good way.

  • The Northeast United States is hit by a wave of mass suicides in The Happening, and it's up to Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel to figure out what's going on. As it turns out, the plants are mad at humans for not taking care of the Earth and are releasing toxins into the air, causing people to take their own lives.

    The Twist: Just as the main characters accept their fates and breath in the evil plants' air... everything goes back to normal. This twist feels like both a cop-out and a rehash, as it's oddly reminiscent of the ending to the 2007 film The Mist without being nearly as powerful.

    173 votes

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  • A group of resort guests finds themselves rapidly aging and dying off in 2021's Old. Every time one of them tries to escape the island, they end up blacking out and finding themselves back on the beach.

    The Twist: The film eventually reveals (after all of the characters seemingly perish) that each group on the beach had at least one member with a life-threatening illness, and the resort knowingly sent them all to their certain doom as part of a clinical study for new pharmaceuticals. 

    The film's big reveal is a bit underwhelming, since it's never made clear why the island causes people to rapidly age. Not to mention that the whole pharmaceutical company angle feels wildly out of place.

    165 votes
  • It's not every day you find a "narf" in your apartment building's pool, but Paul Giamatti does just that in Lady in the Water. Story (Bryce Dallas Howard) is an ethereal being who has come to find a struggling writer who's about to create a book that changes the world - that is, if Story isn't killed first.

    The Twist(s): It's hard to pinpoint "the" twist in Lady in the Water, but some fans consider it the fact that Shyamalan plays the gifted writer that Story has come to help. The twist could also be the fact that everyone in the real-life fairy tale is playing the wrong role. Either way, the stakes feel relatively low compared to other Shyamalan creations.

    88 votes

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  • Joshua Beal is your average American 5th grader, but his life takes a tragic turn when his grandfather dies. He then begins searching for proof of "God" with the help of his friends, as well as a cool nun played by Rosie O'Donnell.

    The Twist: Joshua's faith is restored after saving a friend's life... and getting a message from a potentially ghostly classmate. The plot twist feels like a precursor to The Sixth Sense, but it's a bit out of place in this coming-of-age film.

    58 votes
  • 5
    120 VOTES

    'Glass' - The Masterplan Is To Make A Viral Video

    Glass picks up where Unbreakable and Split left off as David Dunn attempts to take down Kevin Wendell Crumb. Dunn and Crumb end up in a psychiatric hospital along with Elijah/Mr. Glass, who's already devised an escape plan.

    The Twist(s): They're foiled by Dr. Ellie Staple, who reveals she's part of an organization that eliminates superheroes in order to maintain world order, and all of the three main characters are eliminated.

    It's also revealed that Crumb's father was on the same train Dunn survived in Unbreakable.

    But all of this was actually part of Elijah's plan. The surveillance footage at the hospital was both live-streamed and sent to those close to Dunn, Crumb, and Glass, who then release it to the public. So essentially, Elijah's plan all along was to go viral on the internet.

    120 votes
  • 6
    17 VOTES

    'Knock at the Cabin' - The Strangers Were Telling The Truth

    Based on Paul Tremblay’s 2018 novel The Cabin at the End of the World, Knock at the Cabin follows Eric,  Andrew, and their 7-year-old daughter Wen who, while vacationing at a remote Pennsylvania cabin, are held hostage by a group of strangers who claim the world will end if the family doesn’t sacrifice one of themselves. Andrew recognizes one of the strangers as a man who went to jail after assaulting Andrew at a bar, making Andrew question if this is an act of revenge. 

    The Twist: In the end, Eric believes the strangers are telling the truth and convinces Andrew to shoot and kill him. Andrew then drives Wen to the closest diner, where news reports confirm the apocalypse has been avoided.

    17 votes