The Sixth Sense (1999)


Food: This isn’t the stuff of a decent food blogger, but during this viewing I indulged in a guilty pleasure: Taco Bell. I had two cheesy gordita crunches. It was a lazy raining Sunday and I was hungover. What can I say? I do not regret it.

Film: I had avoided seeing this one ever since in middle school, a youth pastor at church decided to spoil the twist in this movie to everyone because it had once been spoiled for him. I was deeply angry, and still have not forgiven him for that selfish decision, but eventually decided it was probably still worth watching despite knowing the ending. I was correct.

The unique story is the most interesting aspect of this film. This is a deftly told ghost story about a troubled young boy, Cole (Haley Joel Osment), who carries with him a chilling secret. Although the story revolves around his relationship with his psychiatrist Dr. Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis) who tries to help him, the most compelling part of the story is this childs relationship with his mother, played by Toni Collette. She is enigmatic in this role as a single mother, desperately trying to be there for her son, but frustratingly in the dark and unable to penetrate his reticent personality. The emotional moments between them are captivating and painful due to their superb performances.

At the start of the film, Crowe is violently faced with a patient from his past who he was unable to help, and when he meets Cole, who has unflinchingly similar issues to his previous case, he works to redeem himself by finding a different outcome this time.

Each step of the film is foreboding a larger story, but it is done so discreetly that even with all the clues in place, viewers are left with an ending that is as equally unexpected and surprising as it is obvious. The Sixth Sense is full of classic, elegantly done horror. The chilling moments of cold air coming out of a living characters mouth to signal the presence of a ghost, the small tent full of stolen religious figurines made to be a sanctuary, the quiet, slow pacing… this film is M. Night Shymalan at his best.

Although the shock factor was completely non-existent for myself with the spoiled ending, it gave me the opportunity to observe the storytelling choices that are made to emphasize the impact of the twist. It definitely lives up to the hype I had been hearing about since I was younger and I am happy to have finally checked this one off of my list.

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