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In ‘Unbreakable’ trilogy, Shyamalan blends horror, action

M.+Night+Shyamalan+at+the+2018+San+Diego+Comic+Con+panel+for+his+film++Glass.+Shyamalan+by+Gage+Skidmore+is+licensed+under+CC+BY-SA+2.0+DEED
M. Night Shyamalan at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con panel for his film “Glass”. Shyamalan by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

M. Night Shyamalan is well known for his award-winning movie The Sixth Sense and for his horrendous Avatar: the Last Airbender adaptation. Still, modern audiences may have missed out on Shyamalan’s superhero action-thriller Unbreakable trilogy. The movies feature the talents of Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and Anya Taylor-Joy. 

Unbreakable, from 2000, begins with the birth of Elijah Price, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, who is a man with Type 1 osteogenesis imperfecta, making his bones extremely fragile. When he is older, Elijah owns a comic book shop and actively searches for superheroes. 

In contrast, David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis, is a man who can survive anything, having discovered his powers in a devastating trainwreck. David also had been struggling with his marital and family life. With Elijah’s help, David can accept his new life as a superhero. David learns to accept his new identity and also how to strengthen his family.

Split was a delayed sequel to Unbreakable, being released 16 years later. At first, audiences did not know that Split and Unbreakable were connected. James McAvoy plays Kevin Wendell Crumb. Kevin has dissociative identity disorder, though this movie’s depiction of it is often cited as an inaccurate portrayal of the real disorder. 

Still, McAvoy puts on an impressive performance, taking on the role of a distressed man who has kidnapped four high school girls. “The Beast” is the most powerful of Kevin’s personalities, transforming Crumb into an animalistic monster. This film is a psychological thriller, a far cry from the blatant superhero themes of Unbreakable.

Glass is the culmination of both Unbreakable and Split. Glass was released 19 years after Unbreakable. David Dunn works as a vigilante called the Overseer. Having heard the events of Split on the news, David seeks out “The Horde,” a nickname given to The Beast and the other personalities of Kevin Crumb. 

This movie offers a thrilling conclusion to an innovative and original superhero trilogy.”

— Sean Galentine

The two eventually end up alongside the villainous Mr. Glass in Raven Hill Memorial, an institution created to help those with delusions of grandeur. This movie offers a thrilling conclusion to an innovative and original superhero trilogy. 

These three movies blend action and horror as well as cinematography and writing to remind audiences that M. Night Shyamalan is more than just his flops.

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About the Contributor
Sean Galentine
Sean Galentine, Multimedia Editor
Multimedia Editor Sean Galentine is a junior in his second year on the Purbalite. He can usually be found listening to music or playing games.
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