Family Movie Rental

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Even though the term "family movie" has come to be associated with films made expressly for children, I've always thought that a true family movie is one that a whole family can enjoy together, regardless of age. While many children's titles, such as "Shrek," and "Elf," have become quite popular with adults as well, there are also some non-children's DVDs that can hold appeal to kids without overstepping any family-friendly boundaries. Some of the best examples of this can be found in the films of M Night Shyamalan. Although the director's films are generally known for their creepiness and suspense, they are executed in such a way as to appeal to all age groups (except for very young children).

In films like "The Sixth Sense," Shyamalan employs supernatural and macabre situations to highlight the very human themes of his stories. Rather than attempting to frighten audiences with graphic onscreen horrors, Shyamalan creates an atmosphere of suspense using everyday images and environments. As a result, "The Sixth Sense" is suspenseful enough to engage younger children, while sidestepping gratuitous onscreen horrors. The movie also features a child protagonist that kids can relate to, and features a quite family-friendly resolution.

Family Movie Rental Choices

A few years before became a household name after the success of his supernatural thriller, "The Sixth Sense," M. Night Shyamalan made "Wide Awake." "Wide Awake" is a dramatic comedy chronicling an eventful year in the life of a young Catholic School student as he embarks on a "quest to find God." With a supporting cast that includes Denis Leary, Robbert Loggia, and Dana Delany, "Wide Awake" is set in a world familiar to children, while exploring themes that adults will also find interesting.

Shyamalan's more adult-oriented films, such as thrillers like "Signs," and "The Village," all passed the family friendly test as well. Although these films feature some horror themes, they create suspense with mood, pace, and storytelling, rather than shock, gore, or anything else unsuitable for young audiences. Of all the M. Night Shyamalan DVDs available to rent, only "Unbreakable" proved to contain some scenes that might be considered too intense for family viewing.

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