How The Watchers' Big Twist Compares To M. Night Shyamalan's Movies (2024)


  • The Watchers' twist echoes M Night Shyamalan's earlier work, particularly Lady in the Water's complex lore.
  • Although effective, the twist in The Watchers is over-explained, revealing too much and losing ambiguity.
  • The Shyamalan brand may have hindered The Watchers, making its twist somewhat predictable to viewers expecting a surprise.

Although The Watchers features a big twist, the surprise will be somewhat familiar for anyone who has seen M Night Shyamalan's movies. The Watchers is a 2024 horror movie by director Ishana Night Shyamalan, the daughter of divisive horror director M Night Shyamalan. The Watchers is adapted from A.M. Shine’s novel of the same name and follows the story of Mina, an American immigrant living in Galway. When Mina’s boss tasks the pet shop employee with delivering a bird to a customer, she ends up stranded in a remote forest and encounters three strangers occupying a bunker.

Mina shelters in this bunker with the strangers and learns it is surrounded by the eponymous Watchers, a set of nocturnal creatures that kill anyone who tries to escape the forest. The twist ending of The Watchers reveals that the bunker’s eldest inhabitant, Olwen Fouéré’s Madeline, is secretly a half-human, half-Watcher hybrid. She was captured by an academic who built the bunker and secretly planned to escape the forest. The Watchers' highly anticipated horror story set this twist up earlier when Mina learned about the professor’s attempts to study the Watchers. The revelation recalls M Night Shyamalan’s work.


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The Watchers could start a new horror franchise for Ishana Night Shyamalan, and its confirmed if there is a post-credits scene setting up a sequel.

The Watchers' Twist Is Most Like Lady In The Water

The Watchers Echoes Lady In The Water’s Complex Lore

When compared to the many twists in M Night Shyamalan movies, The Watchers owes its biggest creative debt to 2006’s underrated fantasy Lady in the Water. In Lady in the Water, the residents of a nondescript apartment block realize they are living in a fairy tale and try to work out what their roles are in the story. They attempt to save Bryce Dallas Howard’s water nymph from the villainous Scrunt, but only discover near Lady in the Water’s ending that they have all been occupying the wrong roles in the tale. The Watchers includes a similar revelation.

Until The Watchers’ ending, it seems as though everyone in the bunker is a stranded stranger like Mina. However, not only is Madeline secretly a half-Watcher, half-human, but various characters seen throughout the movie are revealed to be Watchers disguised as humans. The girl The Watchers’ heroine Mina sees in the forest is really a hallucinated memory of her estranged twin sister, further proving that viewers can’t believe what they see. Madeline transforms into all the main characters in the end, before taking the form of a child. Like Lady in the Water’s title character, she’s finally freed.

The Watchers' Twist Is As Effective As Some Of M. Night’s

The Watchers’ Ending Is A Surprise Despite Its Over-Explanation

In The Watchers, Mina’s final confrontation with Madeline and Madeline’s decision to forgive humans for what they did to the Watchers is arguably superfluous.

The Watchers has a solid twist ending although, like some of M Night Shyamalan’s sillier twists, the revelation is a bit over-explained. Mina discovers who built the bunker and why before the main characters escape, and she finds out about an entire war between the Watchers and humans when she visits the professor’s university. She also learns about human-Watcher hybrids who, unlike Watchers, can go out in the daytime. The Watchers could have ended at this point, leaving the fate of the titular beings a mystery and leaving viewers uncertain whether any of the bunker’s surviving inhabitants were half-Watchers in disguise.

Instead, The Watchers struggles with an issue that hampered Shyamalan’s Old, Knock at the Cabin, and The Happening. The twist is over-explained, ruining any ambiguity. In Old, the clinical trial was revealed too early, whereas in Knock at the Cabin, the revelation that the biblical apocalypse was real all along deflated much of the movie’s tension and unease. In The Watchers, Mina’s final confrontation with Madeline and Madeline’s decision to forgive humans for what they did to the Watchers is arguably superfluous. Thus, Ishana Night Shyamalan’s debut struggles with a problem seen in some M Night Shyamalan movies.

The Watchers Has The Same Twist Problem As M. Night Shyamalan's Movies

The Watchers Struggles To Shock Thanks To The Shyamalan Brand

The Watchers was at a disadvantage thanks to the Shyamalan family brand.

The bigger issue with The Watchers’ twist ending has less to do with the movie itself and more to do with its meta-reception. Since M Night Shyamalan’s movies are famous for their shocking turns, viewers always suspected that Ishana Night Shyamalan's The Watchers would have a twist ending. In contrast, The Watchers star Georgina Campbell’s 2022 hit Barbarian featured a twist that floored critics and audiences not just because of its ingenuity, but because viewers had no reason to see it coming. The Watchers was at a disadvantage thanks to the Shyamalan family brand.

Since viewers effectively knew that The Watchers would come with a big twist, it didn’t take a huge logical leap to assume that the villains might be a variant of faeries or changelings. These shape-shifting monsters are enjoying a cultural moment thanks to Irish horror hits like You Are Not My Mother and The Hole in the Ground and viewers know that Shyamalan movies need twist endings, so The Watchers became inadvertently predictable thanks to M Night Shyamalan’s propensity for plot twists.

How The Watchers' Big Twist Compares To M. Night Shyamalan's Movies (2)
The Watchers





Ishana Shyamalan

Release Date
June 7, 2024

New Line Cinema

A.M. Shine , Ishana Shyamalan

Dakota Fanning , Georgina Campbell , Olwen Fouéré , Siobhan Hewlett

102 minutes
  • Movies
  • The Watchers (2024)

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