M Night Shyamalan Movies: Every Plot Twist From 'The Sixth Sense' to 'Old'

When fans head to the movie theater to watch an M Night Shyamalan movie, they know to expect the unexpected. From his early movies like The Sixth Sense to his latest, Old, there is always a plot twist to be found.

It can even mean the audience spends the entire film trying to guess the twist, but Shyamalan always comes up with something left field.

We break down all the big plot twists in Shyamalan's most iconic films as his latest film, Old, comes to movie theaters.

Ahead are spoilers for many of his movies, including the upcoming Old.

The Sixth Sense

Plot twist: Malcolm Crowe has been dead the whole time.

The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense. Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osmont in a production still Getty Images

The first and arguably one of Shyamalan's best films is The Sixth Sense, which has become almost synonymous with movie plot twists.

In the film, young Cole (played by Haley Joel Osment) has a new therapist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), who is there to help the boy socialize.

Malcolm also believes that in helping Cole he can grow closer to his wife after their relationship has run cold.

He discovers the young man believes he can see dead people who are walking around unaware of being dead.

Cole begins to help the ghosts finish their business so they can walk towards the light, and eventually, once Malcolm realizes he too is a ghost, is able to accept Cole's help in doing the same thing.


Plot twist: Mr. Glass is behind everything

Bruce Willis in a production still from "Unbreakable." Getty Images

In the first of the Unbreakable trilogy, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) believes he is invincible.

This is because he keeps managing to survive extraordinary events like a horrific train crash, and enlists the help of comic book store owner Elijah Price, aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), to help him understand what he believes are superhuman abilities.

Over time, his conversations with Glass make him more certain of his abilities, even thinking his intuition is extrasensory perception, and begins wearing a raincoat as his superhero costume.

In the end, he discovers Mr. Glass is behind all of the incidents which supposedly proved David's abilities, and he actually believes himself to be the arch-villain to David's superhero.


Plot twist: The aliens are repelled by water

M Night Shyamalan and Signs stars
M Night Shyamalan and "Signs" stars Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. Doug Kanter/Getty Images

This is not so much of a twist as a coincidence, though as the priest tells us in the film: "There are no coincidences."

Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) has fallen away from his faith, and is raising his children Morgan and Bo (Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin) after the death of his wife, alongside his brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix).

Aliens come to take over the planet, invading their house near a remote cornfield where crop circles have lain.

The aliens soon get closer and closer, and the family believes they are under threat, but soon things begin to come together for them.

Bo's strange habit of leaving water glasses everywhere, Morgan's asthma and Merrill's former baseball hopes all become incredibly useful, as well as Graham's wife's dying words: "Swing away, Merrill."

In the end, Morgan avoids their toxic gas due to his asthma, Merrill beats the aliens with his bat after they are weakened by Bo's water, meaning the family survive and Graham's faith is restored.

The Village

Plot twist: The monsters aren't real, and they're in the 21st century

M Night Shyamalan and The Village stars
M Night Shyamalan and "The Village" stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Adrien Brody. Evan Agostini/Getty Images

The Village had a number of plot twists going for it, and the main character Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) is at the center of many of them.

The story begins with a 19th century farming community, who stay within their village due to the creatures who live in the woods and hunt people down if they try to leave.

Ivy, who is blind, goes in search of medicines for her beloved, Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and is told the first plot twist—the monsters in the forest are actually people from their settlement dressed up to stop people from leaving.

She leaves and finds her way out to the edge of the settlement, and is picked up by a park ranger who helps her retrieve medicines.

It is revealed her father, Edward (William Hurt), bought the nature reserve and set up the village for people to live in to escape their grief from crimes, and the elders used the monsters to keep people from leaving and entering the real world.

Ivy returned none the wiser to the truth, and the village elders continued to deceive their inhabitants.

Lady In The Water

Plot twist: The nymph is there in search of M Night Shyamalan

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Story, a water nymph or Narf who is discovered in the pool of an apartment building by the landlord, Cleveland (Paul Giamatti).

Cleveland and his other residents try to help the Narf to escape the horrific Scrunt, a powerful beast which is hunting her.

The group place themselves within the Narf legend, trying to save Story from the evil assailant.

In the end, however, it is revealed Story has herself broken free from her fantasy world in order to find the Writer, someone who will write a manifesto which will ultimately save humanity.

That writer is played by the director, Shyamalan, who writes The Cookbook, which will inspire a future president, though his extraordinary ideas will mean he is assassinated.

The Happening

Plot twist: Plants are causing people to harm themselves

M Night Shyamalan and The Happening cast
M Night Shyamalan and "The Happening" cast. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

In The Happening, the U.S. is suddenly taken over by mass suicides happening all over the country.

It is believed to be taking place due to a neurotoxin caused by a terrorist attack which is forcing everyone to harm themselves.

Husband and wife Elliott and Alma (Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel) flee to try and find sanctuary, ending up taking care of a girl whose father has died, Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez).

Quickly, Elliott realizes, after speaking to a plant nursery worker, that the plants are releasing the toxin with the aim to protect themselves from the harm humans are doing to the ecology.

The film ends and the trio have managed to survive, but Elliott continues in his quest to warn others about how this is being caused, and how the environment must be protected to stop further outbreaks.

The Visit

Plot twist: The couple are not really their grandparents

This is one of the better twists in Shyamalan's later movies, with a far simpler and in many ways more effective twist.

In the movie, Becca and Tyler (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) go to visit their grandparents, Nana and Pop Pop (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie), without their mother Loretta (Kathryn Hahn).

Loretta fell out with her parents 15 years before, making this the first ever visit for Becca and Tyler.

Their grandparents act slightly strangely, and soon the teenagers start to discover some strange things about their grandparents, such as adult diapers and vomiting streaks.

Soon, their grandparents become violent and start to hunt them, and they realize these are two patients who have escaped from an institution and killed their real grandparents in the process.

The teenagers eventually escape and the truth is revealed.


Plot twist: The film links to Unbreakable

M Night Shyamalan and Split stars
M Night Shyamalan and "Split" stars Anya Taylor-Joy and James McAvoy. Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images

Split seemed to be completely standalone as the film went on.

It shows Kevin Wendell (James McAvoy) a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who kidnaps a group of girls to sacrifice to one of the personalities: The Beast.

The Beast is a superhuman, cannibalistic monster who the other 23 identities fear, and some of the identities have been helping The Beast to come "into the light."

One of the girls kidnapped is Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) whose own past traumas help her to speak to Kevin's various personalities and try to escape.

The film seems to be without any twist at all, until the post-credit scene sees a waitress watching the news, seeing how the newly-named The Horde has been apprehended.

She links it to a previous crime of a criminal in a wheelchair who believed himself to be superhuman, and on trying to remember his name, David Dunn appears, calling him Mr. Glass.


Plot twist: Dr. Staples wants to kill them—and they might actually be superhuman

Samuel L Jackson as Glass
Samuel L Jackson as Glass in "Unbreakable." The film Glass follows his character more closely. Getty Images

Split leads perfectly into Glass, thanks to the post-credit scene, and it is revealed all three supposed superhumans have been taken to an institution by Dr. Staples (Sarah Paulson) and told they are having delusions and are not superhuman.

Glass' mother, Casey and David's son Joseph try to convince her otherwise, but soon the three men make their escapes and try to defeat one another.

It is then revealed that these men are actually superhuman, having been targeted by Dr. Staples' clandestine organization which seeks to kill all those who threaten the balance order of the world by exhibiting superhuman qualities.

Her plot is exposed and the world sees the superhumans in the end, but some may suggest the twist is that they are even superhuman at all, as many wondered whether their self-belief was actually true.


Plot twist: They have been chosen to be part of a clinical trial

The main family in Old
Vicky Krieps, Thomasin Mackenzie, Gael Garcia Bernal and Luca Faustino Rodriguez as the main family in 'Old'. Universal

In the newest Shyamalan film, a group are taken to a private beach by their hotel leaders, where they realize they cannot escape and the beach is forcing them to age prematurely.

The thing they all have in common is they are suffering from various illnesses, from epilepsy to schizophrenia and calcium deficiency.

A man is watching them from a cliffside (Shyamalan) and it turns out he is part of the reason for their abandonment.

The hotel they are staying in, it emerges, is actually a laboratory working to test medicines and the beach's unique rock means they can test medicine for years in just a few hours.

They even discover one of their medicines, all of which were given to guests under the guise of free cocktails, may be able to stop people from having epileptic seizures for years.

In the end, two children who age to become 50-year-olds while on the island find a way out and expose the pharmaceutical company.