If there’s one director synonymous with cameos appearances its Alfred Hitchcock and for him what started off as a bit of joke soon became an expectation from the audience but an irritant for the director. Other directors have made the occasional cameo – John Landis being a case in point but the one director who has followed Hitchcock’s example is M Night Shyamalan and with the release of Knock at the Cabin we thought we ‘d take a look at where you can spot him in his films
The Sixth Sense (1999) – was his breakout film and no one would have been looking out for the then unfamiliar face of the director. As it is he plays Dr Hill in what would be a homage to his own parents who were both doctors
Unbreakable (2000) was his second film with Bruce Willis and here the director plays a drug dealer that Willis pats down in a queue at the sports stadium
Signs (2002) starts to up the ante in terms of screen time and dialogue and here he plays a driver who killed Mel Gibson’s screen wife in a traffic accident. With a significant role integral to the plot the director apart from apologizing for causing the death of Gibson’s wife also tells him that the aliens ( one of which he has locked in his basement) are not too fond of water.
The Village (2004) saw him take a step back from the camera being on him but instead in his role as a security guard his reflection can be seen in the glass door of a fridge ion his office
Lady in the Water (2006) – This was far from a cameo but an out and out full on supporting role and maybe it was an ego thing but his character was an author who the title character is looking for in a bid to tell her story that will change and improve the world. Yeah, right. The film bombed and after a run of big box office success so began a run of films that bombed like the RAF over wartime Dresden.
The Happening (2008) had a great trailer let down only when audiences saw the film which include an unintentional laugh out loud scene where Mark Wahlberg has a conversation with an office pot plant. The director for once does not appear perhaps due to the reaction of Lady in the water but instead we do hear his voice say, ‘Hello’ ( we think) to Zooey Deschanel
The Last Airbender (2010) This was a big budget blockbuster causing hilarity amongst British audiences when one character says, ‘I always knew you were a bender!’. That aside the director here plays a Firebender at Earth prison camp to underwhelming and forgettable effect
After Earth (2013) & The Visit (2015) saw him step away from making any cameo appearances.
Split (2017) sees him play a character called Jai who assists a psychotherapist review some CCTV….. whilst proclaiming his love for Hooters restaurants. (we concur!)
Glass (2019) saw him again paly Jai, the man chatting in the security shop.
However 2021’s Old saw him back in front of the camera as the van driver who drops the families off at the beach handing them very large picnic baskets full of food telling them, “You’ve got kids. Kids need to eat.”
Which brings us to Knock at the Cabin with its single contained set in a cabin in the woods which sees Shyamalan up on the TV as part of a shopping channel pitching his chicken fryer to audiences