M. Night Shyamalan’s movies have become a bit of a joke in contemporary cinema, but let’s all think back to his first and most successful film: The Sixth Sense - a powerful thriller and ghost story. With this one movie, M. Night Shyamalan established a name for himself, allowing a multitude of inferior twist-ridden stories to follow. None of his follow-ups have matched the success and poignancy of his original film.
The Sixth Sense is a modern ghost story centered around eight-year-old, Cole Sear, a boy suffering from a secret psychological affliction. Dr. Malcolm Crowe begins to help Cole, becoming his new psychologist. Malcolm is continually haunted by one patient who committed suicide a year prior. He believes that helping Cole will in turn help the patient he was never able to cure. It’s similar to Clarice Starling’s dramatic needs in The Silence of the Lambs, and this structure works well for The Sixth Sense.
As the movie progresses, Cole confides to Malcolm that he sees ghosts - dead people, walking around as though they were still among the living. Cole is afflicted by fear and torment, and hopes Malcolm can help. The Sixth Sense works because the movie is able to use the frightening imagery of ghosts to highlight Cole’s private affliction.
In effect, the horror is kept to a minimum, and the real threat involves Cole’s personal life. His mother, Lynn (played wonderfully by Toni Collette) longs to know her son’s secret affliction, but he refuses to divulge, fearing her reaction. Cole has been isolated by the rest of society and fears his mother will do the same, thinking him “a freak.”
Though everyone talks about The Sixth Sense for its twist ending (which is a great reveal that works contextually), the movie is truly memorable because of strong performances and great character moments. The end scene between Cole and his mother while stuck in traffic is especially moving, and Malcolm’s revelations about his wife’s emotional distance is equally powerful.
If by some strange circumstance you have yet to watch The Sixth Sense and are unaware of its twist ending, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. Fortunately, the twist is not plot-driven; instead, it changes the relationship between characters and works well for a second viewing.
For any of you that have seen The Sixth Sense, feel free to share your thoughts below.
Note: This review is taken from Review Hub Central.