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The Sixth Sense (1999)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
Genres:
Childhood Drama, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Thriller, Thriller
Director:
M. Night Shyamalan M. Night Shyamalan
Starring:
Bruce Willis Bruce Willis
Haley Joel Osment Haley Joel Osment
Toni Collette Toni Collette
Olivia Williams Olivia Williams
Trevor Morgan Trevor Morgan

7.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: November 01, 2007
Here we have a film that is considered to be overrated by hundreds upon thousands of people, and really, that's to be expected. After all, this is the film that started the whole "every film must have a twist ending" mindset that Hollywood strictly followed for a couple of years (and still does to this day, although to a lesser extent), and some of the scenes and characters in here are ripe for parody. Then, there's the twist ending itself, which was hyped to the moon and back by everyone who saw it (which led to a lot of disappointed viewers), but you know what? I loved this movie, and I loved it as much tonight as I did the first time I saw it.

We all know the storyline for this one, but just in case somebody who hasn't seen it stumbles across this site, the storyline follows a young boy named Cole (Haley Joel Osment) who has what some may consider to be a problem - he sees dead people. Yes, this little boy sees ghosts everywhere he goes, and this leads him to Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a man who wants to help young Cole not only because it's his job, but also because he sees Cole as a chance to redeem himself for his past mistakes.

You see, Malcolm had previously dealt with another kid who suffered from similar problems, a boy who grew up, broke into his house, chastised the good doctor for "failing him,", and then proceeded to shoot him before killing himself. Needless to say, Malcolm is determined to help this new patient to avoid a similar situation down the road, and even though he believes that Cole's problems can be explained away with rational doctoral terms, he soon discovers that Cole truly does see dead people... but what do they want, and how can he help? Toni Collette costars as Cole's mother, and Donnie Wahlberg makes a cameo as the boy that Malcolm couldn't help.

The one thing that everyone remembers about this film is that twist ending, and although I'm not going to spoil it here - again, maybe some poor soul hasn't seen it yet - I can easily see why that is the case. This is the sort of ending that nobody sees coming, but at the same time, it makes total sense and perfectly compliments the ninety minutes of storyline that preceded it. I remember being thoroughly shocked when I first saw it, and aside from those unlucky bastards who had it spoiled for them ahead of time, I would imagine that just about every viewer out there could say the same.

However, unlike the vast majority of the twist endings that would follow this one, The Sixth Sense doesn't rely on just that shocker of an ending to satisfy its audience. In fact, I firmly believe that they could have easily removed the entire twist ending from the film, and it still would have turned out to be a damned fine release. It wouldn't have been quite as good, mind you, as that final revelation does add a lot to the film, but this is a movie that works on every level before we even reach that final twist. M. Night Shyamalan may catch a lot of heat for repeating the same tricks in each of his films, but there's no denying that the man knows how to tell a story.

Getting away from the twist ending, The Sixth Sense does a lot of things right. For starters, there are some scenes in here which are, quite simply, damned scary and shocking. Watch for the scene in which the ghost of a young boy offers to show Cole where "his dad keeps the guns"; if that scene doesn't send shivers up your spine, nothing will. There are a couple of other scenes in here which are just as good, but for my money, that's the highlight of the entire thing. The story itself breezes along, filled with interesting twists and turns until the grand revelation, and one can easily watch this again after knowing the twist and still enjoy it - it's just that damned good.

Making things even better is the fact that there isn't a weak performance to be found. Bruce Willis is great in the leading role, Toni Collette is superb as Cole's mother, and of course, we have a surprisingly good performance from little Haley Joel Osment. Again, the kid may have been parodied countless times in other films and TV shows, but you can't deny that he pulled off a flawless performance here; in fact, as much as I may normally despise child actors, even I have to admit that this kid was a better actor than a lot of the Hollywood A-listers working today.

Yes, a lot of people have taken shots at this film, and yes, it did influence a whole lot of shitty movies that tacked on twist endings just because it was the "cool" thing to do at the time. However, none of that takes away from the film itself, and I firmly believe that The Sixth Sense will remain a classic for decades to come. 10/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 11/01/2007, 11:27 AM
I remember the first time I saw this film -- the ending blew me away. I had to watch it again, just to be sure. Then I watched it again to try and catch all the little things I missed. That said, it's not my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film. I thought "Unbreakable" and "Signs" were better. "The Sixth Sense" was so memorable because of that ending, but the rest was pretty cookie cutter, to an extent. It's still an amazing film. I would say I agree that it is overrated somewhat, and I don't think it deserved a Best Picture nomination, but it was still a pretty kick ass horror film. 9/10.
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added 06/18/2008, 06:52 PM
Now I loved The Sixth Sense. I think its easily my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film. I just loved everything about it. I thought it had an amazing story and the acting was just great. And damn, there were scenes that just plain scared the shit out of me. Even now, they're a bit uncomforable to watch. I really think this movie will stand the test of time. I don't know if everyone will agree with that but I really think it will. I'd give this a solid 10/10.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 02/27/2010, 01:43 AM
I agree with meanie. 9/10
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