The Village, part I: Motifs and story arc

Before The Visit came M. Night Shyamalan’s early masterpiece The Village (2004). Mismarketed and misunderstood as a horror movie, it has gained a following as a mood piece of pastoral beauty, intense emotion and stylised lyricism.

The Village, part II: A tapestry of characters

After a general evaluation of this M. Night Shyamalan tour de force, the large cast of characters and their relationships are examined, with a special emphasis on subtext and how it is expressed through mise-en-scène.

The Village Part III: Love, murder and monsters

Whispered echoes, nightmare logic, high melodrama, relentlessly ingenious staging – this visual analysis of M. Night Shyamalan’s pastoral masterpiece preserves the film’s own gestures, often rearranged in surprising combinations.

The Sixth Sense, Part I: Stature and Style

A stunning piece of high-precision filmmaking, formally inventive, thematically intelligent, emotionally gripping, a momentous commercial success, an almost perfect film.

The Sixth Sense, Part III: Motifs and a Funeral

We conclude our in-depth analysis of M. Night Shyamalan’s masterpiece with a close look at motifs and structural aspects, concluding with a shot-by-shot commentary on the post-funeral sequence.

Unbreakable, Part I: Characters and relationships

Our in-depth look at M. Night Shyamalan’s early films continues with Unbreakable: perhaps the only mainstream Hollywood formalist film, a mass-market movie approached with an unrelenting European art film sensibility.

Unbreakable, Part II: Motifs and colour

M. Night Shyamalan’s enigmatic superhero thriller is a film where everything seems to be connected to everything else. We look at various motifs and colour codings that move in intricate and sometimes very strange patterns.

Unbreakable, Part III: Visual style

M. Night Shyamalan’s visual style consists of a series of recurring formal devices. Watching Unbreakable feels like participating in a ritual where these devices are applied and reapplied, in new variations and combinations.

Signs, Part I: Delightful entertainment, with meaning

M. Night Shyamalan has created a Signs fiction film about alien invasion, with powerful horror set pieces and comedic touches. An analysis of its dreamlike opening sequence peels away complex layers of motifs and echoes.

Signs, Part II: Motifs and horror shows

M. Night Shyamalan is particularly adept at creating a set of hidden motifs that govern the film. We look at circles, water, doors, houses, the sky and how they operate in two brilliant horror set pieces.

Signs, Part III: Dreams, demons and birds

Signs offers rich allegorical subtexts of dreams, magic and the aliens as metaphors for the characters’ inner demons. We also chart references to The Birds, and analyse the masterful cellar sequence and the film’s ending.