Stuff I Watch in October: The Sixth Sense (1999)

sixth sense

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: The Sixth Sense (1999)

sixth sense

DIRECTOR: A wild M. Night Shyamalan has appeared! Shyamalan had directed two films before this but wasn’t as “established”. One was a personal, fictional drama about returning to India and learning about his father and the other was a fairly weak Miramax family film starring Rosie O’Donnell.

WHAT IS IT?: The Sixth Sense was the film that put Shyamalan’s name in lights. I still remember hearing about the film online from other film nuts. Early buzz was that the script was phenomenal and that “Shyamalan knows how to get under your skin” with his story-telling.

THE PLOT: After having been honored for his work as a child psych, Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) suffers a personal tragedy when one of his old patients, a young man named Vincent, breaks into his home, shoots him, and then commits suicide in front of him and his wife. The incident sends Malcolm’s resolve and his marriage on a downward spiral until he takes on a new patient by the name of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a child who seems withdrawn, even from Malcolm — until he reveals why: he claims to see dead people during every waking moment of his life and it’s taking a hell of a mental toll.

At first, Malcolm is skeptical of Cole’s claim but after listening to old tapes of his time with Vincent — and hears a disembodied voice of a ghost crying to Vincent — Malcolm realizes that Cole’s progress and eventual emotional recovery is not only a must but that is also may be his ultimate redemption and the key to fixing his own life.

sixth sense

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: The Sixth Sense received nothing but praise from critics who gave it high marks for its mix of high drama and the tense nature of a modern horror film. The movie was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and several Golden Globe Awards.

WHAT DID I THINK?: The movie is still good all these years later thanks to Haley Joel Osment’s emotional performance as the disturbed Cole and a beautifully grounded performance from Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe.

The film’s scares are effective mainly because of the performances. They prey on that small child inside of you who is still afraid of the dark. They cut into like a knife and give you goosebumps and you not only feel the scare on a visceral level, but on an emotional one. Osment does a great job of making you feel how frightened he is of what he’s seeing and that just scares you even more.

The famous ending works…but I can see why there are those who object to it due to the film’s insistence on straining credulity in order to make it work.

For me, the real “moment” of the film is when Cole and his mother come to terms on his issue and how it’s impacted their relationship. It’s one that’s worth more than the final big reveal with Malcolm and his own life.

The Sixth Sense is a modern classic.


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