Once upon a time, M. Night Shyamalan who delivered one of the greatest thrillers of all time. This film had a huge impact in popular culture, and it is the film that shot M. Night Shyamalan to fame, with some calling him the next Steven Spielberg. However, despite delivering two great movies, Unbreakable and Signs, Shyamalan has become kind of a bad reputation in Hollywood, as his follow up films, The Village and Lady in the Water, had a very mixed reception with The Happening, After Earth, and ESPECIALLY the abomination known as The Last Airbender are considered one of the worst films of all time. However, despite his multiple failures, he delivered one of the greatest thrillers of all time. In anticipation for his latest film The Visit, I look back at The Sixth Sense, which features excellent performances Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, brilliant direction, excellent screenwriting that handles thrilling moments and emotions perfectly, and featuring one of the best twist of all time.
The film tells the story of Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist who is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient the same night he receives an award for his work. After this encounter, Crowe takes on the cast of curing a young boy named Cole Sear who has the same ills as the ex-patient. Little does he know that Cole Sear has a sixth sense, which gives him the ability to see and talk to dead people.
The things that makes The Sixth Sense one of the best thrillers of all time would have to be how much focus Shyamalan gives to the characters, as well as the actor’s performance. Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe deliver’s one of the his best roles, as he is able to capture the guilt of the character, and his willingness to help others. Crowe has been deeply affected with his previous encounter. and Willis sells the pain the character is facing, and how he deosn’t want the same to happen to Cole Sear. His interaction with Cole are the highlights of the film, as Willis is able to portray Malcolm as someone who is genuinely willing to help, and will do anything to understand Cole, even if it means solving how Cole is able to see ghost.
The performance of Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear is one of the best performance of a child actor, and it is worthy of his Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Not only is he able to deliver excellent chemistry with veteran actor Bruce Willis, but he is able to give many depth to his character, and make him sympathetic. He is able to show Cole as someone who has a secret, and is in need of help to understand his secret. The best scene in the film, which is also one that has been often parodied in popular culture, would have to be his famous “I see dead people” scene. The way in which Haley Joel Osment is able to add suspense, fear, and the way he is able to set the atmosphere and take the film into another direction, in just that one scene. But where Osment is able to show his strength in his performance is whenever interacts with ghost, as he is not only able to sell the fear of a child whitnessing ghost, but he is able to show a clear understanding of them, one that makes his sympathetic towards them. Because of him helping out and understanding his gift, it makes the character fit in and start to help himself with these issues.
An aspect of the film that is actually surprising would have to be how Shyamalan is able to portray the ghost. In many thrillers and horror films, the ghost are seen as this evil being that are just there to haunt them. While the ghost in the films are terrifying and deliver many frightening moments, they are not portrayed as evil. Shyamalan portrays them as someone who are also frightened, and are also scared about the situation that they are in. This is one of the few thrillers in which the ghost are not the bad guys, they are just misunderstood. Like the films states, the ghost are frightened, because they do not know that they are dead, and they are just walking around seeing only what they want to see. What makes Cole’s gift important is that he can use it to help others, as well as make them understand when it is time to go.
The whole film is based on the idea that these ghost aren’t harmful, but just frightened because they don’t know they’re dead is a key aspect in the film. The reason why is because it brings up one of the best elements in the film, and that would have to be the twist of the film. Because this is one of the biggest twist of all time, many know the twist of the film without even seeing it. However, for those of you who have not seen The Sixth Sense, the only thing I could say about this twist is that it is one of the best movie twist of all time, and it is one that at initial viewing, you would have never seen it coming. However, the great thing that M. Night Shyamalan did with this twist is that not only was it smart and effective for this film, but it is one that is able to make the film better. When watching the film upon repeat, the films get better and better because you are able to catch many things you didn’t even notice in the first viewing, and you are able to discover new things.
The reason why this film works is because of the excellent direction and brilliant story from M. Night Shyamalan. He was able to deliver excellent storytelling about a man trying to help a child, while adding supernatural elements. The film would have been a great film if it didn’t had ghost, but it was made a greater film because of the supernatural elements. The direction and confidence M. Night Shyamalan does is perfect, as he is able to build up tension, suspense, and thrills in many scenes, with some of the thrills being the reaction of certain characters. The way he draws out the scenes for suspense, as well as many color motifs, specifically the color red in many scenes, shows the capability of a great director M. Night Shyamalan was, before he started to become a parody of himself and ruin one of the greatest animated TV shows of all time. I mean how dare yo ruin The Last Airbender. Why did you have to make that film a piece of…..sorry. I got off topic. Anyway, this is the film that put Shyamalan on the map, and to this day this is still his best film.
The Sixth Sense is one of the best movie thrillers of all time, and it is still M. Night Shyamalan best film, as it features excellent performances Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, brilliant direction, excellent screenwriting that handles thrilling moments and emotions perfectly, and featuring one of the best twist of all time. This is the film that shows the greatness in Shyamalan, and it is a film that is one of the best movies of all time.