Plot – A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist – The Sixth Sense
Director – M. Night Shyamalan
Released – November 1999
When you talk about The Sixth Sense, you tend to run into people who tell you how obvious the “twist” was and how they guessed it at the beginning. These people are most likely lying, this was one of the most carefully planned and not cliche plot twists I had the pleasure of watching up until that point, perfectly connecting everything and even after repeat viewings I have been able to find any potholes that would make the ending obvious unless you knew what to look out for.
I’ve heard Shyamalan had written Dr Crowe with Willis in mind when putting together the screenplay and you can tell, he anchors the film by probably his best performance in a long while, remaining nuanced and understated throughout, which allowed the young Joel Osment to shine as Cole and allowing the audience feel his fears. Collete is also deserving of praise for a touching performance as Cole’s mother (How she keeps missing out on an Oscar, I’ll never know).
When it comes to direction, The Sixth Sense comes from a time when Shyamalan’s stock was rising, feeling both stylish and creepy, he knew how to create using creative shots and camera angles a scary atmosphere in situations not normally made to feel scary, such as a school in the middle of the day or waiting in traffic, even the couple of jump scares that are used, don’t feel cheap or underserved, most coming at times you wouldn’t expect. Not bad for a film that was purposely not advertised as a horror due to the fear of it affecting the box office numbers.
In truth, The Sixth Sense was at the time very original and offered something different to what other horrors or phycological drama’s were doing. Not only was it moving the scares to more everyday locations, but also the dramatic side of the plot is explored more thoroughly to create well-rounded characters that you care about, including the ghosts.
I’m not saying this is the scariest movie you will ever see. It is, however, one with excellent levels of heart. Hopefully, now that Shyamalan has gone back and expanded on the world of Unbreakable with Split and Glass, maybe it’s time for him to give us a sequel and see what Cole has been up to all these years.