6. The Visit
2015's The Visit saw M. Night Shyamalan's full return to the horror genre as a director after working for several years in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. Following two teenagers as they travel to a remote farm to visit their grandparents for the first time, it quickly becomes clear that not all is as it seems with the elderly couple's disturbing behavior and escalating sinister incidents surrounding them. Eventually, the kids discover their actual grandparents were murdered by the elderly couple, who are actually escaped patients from a nearby mental institution.
Like The Village, the big plot twist to The Visit is one relatively easy to predict, but Shyamalan is at the top of his suspenseful game here, more than he was with the 2004 film. The idea that the elderly couple the teens are visiting are not actually their grandparents is telegraphed early on, but the full extent of their villainy, including the murders of the real grandparents, is a startlingly personal one for the audience.
Co-written and produced by Shyamalan, with the actual directorial duties handled by John Eric Dowdle, 2010's Devil serves as a claustrophobic horror whodunnit. Despite not directing, Shyamalan's influence can certainly be felt throughout the production, with five strangers stuck on an elevator as the titular demon among them gruesomely picks them off one-by-one while keeping its identity a secret. With only two of the original five occupants surviving, the big twist has an old woman that had seemingly hanged herself early on revealed not only to be alive but also the literal devil, looking to torment the survivors into losing their faith.
The concept of the devil not only being real, but among the characters trapped in the elevator isn't the big plot twist; it's right there both in the film's title and opening narration. What does make it a nice twist is the reveal that the demon is one of the presumed-dead characters who had apparently met their untimely end earlier in the film.
Part family drama, part alien invasion story, 2002's Signs starred Mel Gibson as a Midwestern preacher who lost his faith following the tragic death of his wife in a car accident. As Gibson's farm becomes the latest staging ground for the hostile extraterrestrials, he realizes that everything in his life, from his wife's last words to his brother's failed baseball aspirations to his children leaving glasses of water around the house, were all part of a divine plan to ward off the alien intruders, rediscovering his faith in the process.
In lesser hands, the 2002 film's twist could've come off as corny, but Shyamalan wisely grounds the reveal after thoroughly planting clues throughout the entire film, making the payoff feel completely organic. Upon repeat viewings, the hints are less subtle, but it does show Shyamalan was planning a longer game for the audience all along.