Few directors in modern cinema are as polarizing as M. Night Shyamalan. That is largely because of the very uneven track record when it comes to the films he has made. Many of his movies are great; a few can even be considered classics. But some of them are just plain awful – and a couple is truly terrible. Yet fans continue to hold out hope that the next Shyamalan movie will be another instant classic and restore his status as one of Hollywood’s top directors.
In celebration of The Sixth Sense‘s 20th anniversary, we thought now would be the perfect time to rank every Shyamalan movie (excluding his small budget directorial debut Praying with Anger and Stuart Little — because it’s about a talking mouse). Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly…
13. The Happening (2008)
The movie that is most responsible for M. Night Shyamalan’s reputation taking a hit with critics and fans is the 2008 film The Happening. It’s about plants that decide to exact revenge on humans by releasing toxic spores into the air that cause people to suddenly commit suicide. The biggest problem with this movie is its entire premise. Once the whole thing is set-up, we’re treated to 90 minutes of people essentially running away from the wind. If this sounds weird, it’s because it is. The acting in the film by an A-list cast that includes Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel doesn’t help matters either. They spend most of the movie looking wide-eyed at the wind blowing through trees and making declarative statements such as “I am about to be sick.” The first movie by Shyamalan to be given an R rating because of the suicides depicted, this is a bad move that was savaged by critics. Rotten Tomatoes score: 18%. But perhaps Wahlberg summed it up best when he stated a few years ago: “It was a really bad movie… F**king trees, man.”