You don't need a sixth sense to detect that many of M. Night Shyamalan's fans are aggravated with him.

In truth, they've been disgruntled ever since the filmmaker's follow-up to The Sixth Sense failed to deliver the same kinds of thrills and surprises as the story about the boy who could "see dead people." Unbreakable was, instead, a moody movie about the origins of a superhero. And if you forgive its awkward conclusion; it's a textured, complex, and soulful story about courage, identity, and conscience.

His next film, Signs, took the conventions of old B-grade horror, mixed them with the elements of War of the Worlds-style sci-fi, and lured audiences into a challenging dialogue about the rewards of faith. Religious press reviewers were impressed and enthusiastic. Mel Gibson's role as an ex-minister arguing with God played as an interesting prologue to the actor's eventual plunge into controversy as a Passion-play director. But many fans complained that Signs' aliens were hokey and that the ending, more meditative than explosive, was a letdown.

Now The Village is here. Over the weekend, it raked in nearly $51 million, but once again the audience is split. A few mainstream critics praise Shyamalan's use of metaphor and theme, while most complain that it lacks good scares and a satisfying twist ending.

The Village is a simple story, peppered with fairy tales, about a small settlement of Americans living like Puritans (but without the religion) and maintaining a fragile "truce" with monsters that live in the woods nearby. When tragedy befalls the town, one brave blind woman (Ron Howard's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard) must venture out for help from the "towns," risking her life for the good of others. Can she make it through the ...

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