Every M. Night Shyamalan Plot Twist Ranked From Worst To Best

Where does Old rank on the Shyamalan scale??

Unbreakable Ending
Buena Vista Pictures

Ever since the release of his third film, The Sixth Sense, the talented yet inconsistent M. Night Shyamalan has become synonymous with big twist endings. Proceeding to end every single subsequent film this way, the only outliers are The Last Airbender and After Earth, his disastrous forays into big-budget Hollywood releases.

In all honesty, it's a shame that Shyamalan is best known for this considering his many other talents as a filmmaker - superb cinematography, imaginative concepts and a knack for using Hollywood tropes to tell intimate, human-focused stories - but there you go. As for the plot twists themselves, they are just like Shyamalan's career: A wildly mixed bag.

Some are pretty good and a couple are absolutely great, but several of the others were interesting ideas poorly executed, while his worst twists are head-bangingly dire.

With his latest supernatural thriller, Old, now in cinemas, it's a great time to see how the twists from Shyamalan's directional filmography - and Devil, which he did the story for - stack up.

To be honest, you probably know what number one is, but how do the others place?


Warning: Spoilers for every Shyamalan film - including Old - ahead.

11. The Happening - It's The Plants!

Unbreakable Ending
20th Century Fox

Plot: A mysterious phenomenon causes people to start killing themselves en-masse.

As if The Happening, with its horrific performances, laughable dialogue and general lack of thrills, wasn't already bad enough it also concludes with Shyamalan's worst twist ever.

The cause of the titular event is not an experiment, or a man-made chemical, or something extra-terrestrial or anything even remotely exciting. It's... the plants.

This is, of course, a stunningly stupid development and killer plants sounds like something out of a children's Halloween cartoon, not a big-budget studio horror film, but what's worse is that it completely kills the movie on a story level.

The thing is, the characters can't fight plants and they are completely powerless to stop anything, so this reveal renders the leads completely inactive in the story. This means that any suspense in lost.

Eventually, protagonist Elliot (A career-worst Mark Wahlberg, who gives one of the worst performances in any film from the last twenty years), his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) and a young girl named Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) survive when the phenomenon ends as suddenly as it began. Unsatisfying doesn't even cover it.


Film Studies graduate, aspiring screenwriter and all-around nerd who, despite being a pretentious cinephile who loves art-house movies, also loves modern blockbusters and would rather watch superhero movies than classic Hollywood films. Once met Tommy Wiseau.