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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.