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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Knock, Knock: The 5 Scariest Moments in M. Night Shyamalan Horror Movies

M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest, Knock at the Cabin, showcases the director’s ability to build suspense through dynamic camerawork and composition. The home invasion thriller, which sees a vacationing family held hostage and forced to make an unthinkable choice, eventually gives way to a contemporary biblical tale.

Shyamalan immediately hits the ground running in his latest movie, wasting no time and cutting straight to the suspense-driven home invasion. He makes the single cabin location visually interesting, injecting taut tension and terror, something common among his genre films.

No matter the story or its tone, Shyamalan can wring potent chills from just about any scenario. To prove it, we’re looking back at five of the scariest moments from Shyamalan movies.

Old – Human Cave Crab

Shyamalan scariest Old

In 2021’s Old, M. Night Shyamalan captures the absurdities of time with a whole lot of humor. That means that the strange horror comedy doesn’t register too high on the scare meter often, except for the fate of some of its characters. The mysterious beach’s ability to speed time leaves poor Chrystal (Abbey Lee) bent out of shape in the most disturbing way. Early character introductions reveal that Chrystal suffers from hypocalcemia, an extreme calcium deficiency. The extremes of the expedited time passage mean that Chrystal goes mad, chasing Trent (Alex Wolff) and his sister Maddox (Thomasin McKenzie) into a cave. Her hypocalcemia catches up to her all at once, contorting her body in unnatural, painfully crablike ways.

The Village – Ivy Waits

The secluded villagers of Covington live in fear of “Those We Don’t Speak Of,” predatorial creatures that reside in the surrounding woods. Long before the truth behind those creatures gets revealed, Shyamalan delivers a nail-biting scene that establishes why the town remains in fear’s grip when it comes to these beings. Soon after Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) starts testing boundaries to seek medicine beyond the village borders, the alarm bells ring, heralding the arrival of the red-hooded creatures. As Lucius attempts to sneak around them, his love interest Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) stands at her door waiting for him while her sister begs her to join the family hiding spot. Giving viewers a glimpse of the creature heightens the breathless emotion as Ivy stands alone in the dark, the sounds of the entity getting closer. Shyamalan extends the suspense as long as possible through ominous sound design, score, and kinetic camera movements, culminating in an intense race toward Ivy between Lucius and a creature.

The Visit – Nana Discovers the Camera

Shyamalan scariest the visit

Siblings Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) get sent to their grandparents while mom heads off on a cruise. The only problem is that mom last spoke to her parents over a decade ago; the siblings never met them. An awkward first meeting becomes even more so when Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) exhibit strange behaviors and strict rules, including being forbidden to leave their room after 9:30 pm. It prompts Tyler to set up a hidden camera in the living room. Enter the unnerving moment that sees Nana roaming the home at night in her nightgown, only to move off-screen and then suddenly reappear in front of the camera with an almost demonic growl. It’d make for a sufficient found footage-style scare on its own, but then Shyamalan takes it a step further as Nana proceeds to get a knife and attempt to break into the kids’ room. The tipping point takes the grandparents’ behavior from eerie to downright dangerous, and Shyamalan’s blocking of the scene ensures it has maximum scare impact.

Signs – “May I have a glass of water?”

Shyamalan scariest signs

The explicit reveal of the alien lifeform on camera, via a birthday party, tends to steal the conversation regarding Signs’ most terrifying moments. But Shyamalan nestled the answer to thwarting this invasion within an intense scare, almost from the outset. Shortly after the arrival of the crop circles at Graham Hess’ (Mel Gibson) farm, young daughter Bo (Abigail Breslin) wakes him in the middle of the night. “There’s a monster outside my room. Can I have a glass of water?” Bo calmly asks. The father and daughter have a heart-to-heart about her mom’s passing, only for Graham to jolt fully awake when he notices a shadowy silhouette lurking outside the window on the roof.

The subtle moment contributes to Bo’s habit of collecting half-full glasses of water around the house, foreshadowing the aliens’ kryptonite. More importantly, it’s unsettling.

The Sixth Sense – Sickly Tent Invasion

Shyamalan’s breakout hit packs in the scares thanks to numerous ghostly encounters for poor, terrified Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Many of them could dominate this list, but the one that stands out the most is the scene that brings the spectral arrival of Kyra (Mischa Barton), a sickly ghost that wants something from Cole. His mother’s nightmares wake Cole in the middle of the night, and shortly after soothing her while she sleeps, the boy notices the temperature rapidly drop. It’s a telltale sign of the paranormal, so Cole retreats to his safe space: his tent. For what feels like an excruciating eternity, Shyamalan coils the tension as the camera pans across the tent’s walls and pans to Cole as he clutches his flashlight, his breath visible due to the chill. Cue the jump scare in which Kyra’s ghost invades his sanctuary, vomiting as she laments feeling ill.

Cole gathered what little courage he had and choked out, “Do you want to tell me something?” All of the paranormal rules Shyamalan established culminate in this pivotal moment, a scene that begins Cole’s transition from passive fear to proactive ghost whisperer. The cold temps, the use of red, and supernatural jump scares feature throughout The Sixth Sense, but this scene wins out for its terrifying invasion of Cole’s safe space and how it marks a shift in his arc.

The post Knock, Knock: The 5 Scariest Moments in M. Night Shyamalan Horror Movies appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

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