The Sixth Sense Review
“I see DEAD People”..... Fear is a sensation that signifies danger, life threatening danger. A sensation that no one should have to experience and certainly one that nobody should WANT to experience yet that is exactly what so many of us crave. To feel terror from a movie is a goal horror fans strive for and to create pure terror in a movie is an extremely hard goal to achieve. Yet M. Night Shyamalan is one of the few film makers who has achieved this utopia and The Sixth Sense is his tool for dispensing this addictive drug.
The days of horror relying purely on gore and sudden shocks have passed and now we, the viewers, demand and are treated to that wonderful feeling known as....Dread. Dread as the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and goose bumps erupt all over your body at the stark realisation of the situation before you. Dread as a chill runs the length of your entire being when you foresee the truth of the matter. The Sixth Sense has this sensation coursing through its veins and grips you so tightly that you genuinely feel scared.
The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis (Hostage, Die Hard Trilogy) in probably his most understated role ever and child prodigy Haley Joel Osment, (A.I.-Artificial Intelligence) tells the story of a child, Cole Sear, who believes he has the ability to see and communicate with the dead. Bruce Willis plays Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist who has to try and convince this disturbed boy that his problems lie in his mind and stem from a troubled past. That is until Crowe starts to question the validity of the boy's claims when he himself notices strange and unnerving occurrences.
Much has been written about Shyalaman's ability to deliver a chilling twist to his movies. This movie began that reputation, yet The Sixth Sense still chills long before the scorpion's tale ending strikes. Without the need for dismembered body parts, or blood splattered walls, The Sixth Sense holds you tightly in its grasp and doesn't let go until the final credits. Being on 'the edge of your seat' was written for this movie and even once you've seen it, a second viewing just heightens your sensation of cold, daunting fear. It is difficult to explain just how this movie achieves this. Maybe it's the superb acting delivered by the entire main cast which includes Haley Joel Osment who is so brilliantly convincing as the terrified, haunted child that you almost want to report Shyamalan to the NSPCC for child cruelty! As mentioned, this is Willis's most understated role yet it is also one of his most powerful and poignant I've ever seen. Credit should also go to Australian actress Toni Collette (Muriel's Wedding, The Hours) who plays Cole's mother and I defy anyone not to be moved by the scene set in the car where Cole tells her that he communicates with her mother, his deceased grandmother. The emotion within this one scene should convince you of the brilliance of this movie. In fact, The Sixth Sense is one of only four horror movies to have ever received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
But that is the incredible talent of Shyamalan. He is able to bring out so many emotions within you that you are drawn deep into the story and when a character feels fear, you feel that same fear, when somebody cries, you cry. The twist at the end is somewhat predictable to some and totally unexpected to others yet most will agree, it still sends them cold when the realisation hits home and forces you to watch the movie again to find all the clues scattered within that should prepare you for the ending. The musical score by James Newton Howard (Batman Begins, Signs, The Devil's Advocate) helps to heighten the tension to near unbearable limits.
The Sixth Sense is a superb chiller; it has the rare quality of genuinely being able to scare but has so many other layers besides. It intrigues, it moves, it surprises but most of all, it sends shivers deep down your spine. This Halloween, I cannot think of a better movie to watch than this. Do not be put off by the relatively mild certificate (PG13) this only implies that there is no gore, but believe me, there are plenty of frights. If you've seen it before, watch it again and revel in its brilliance. If you have never seen it, then The Sixth Sense will scare you witless and move you deeply all at the same time. Now how many movies can lay claim to that?