“I see dead people. Walking around like regular people. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead.”
When asked what my favorite films are, M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller The Sixth Sense tops the list for me every time. I know he hasn’t been on a role lately, but that doesn’t stop me from having high expectations for any of his upcoming projects because I was deeply influenced by this film. Even his following movies, Unbreakable and Signs, rank among my favorites, and I went as far as defending his work in The Happening (which is a guilty pleasure of mine). His latest films have disappointed me, but I still admire his storytelling and the way he builds suspense in his films (he’s heavily influenced by another favorite director of mine: Alfred Hitchcock). I’m looking forward to the release of his new TV series, Wayward Pines, which seems like a return to form for this talented director. But I’m even more excited about his upcoming film, The Visit, which will be released in September.
I was 18 when this film came out and I had just passed my final High School exam so I decided to treat myself to the movies that night to celebrate. Up to this point I was simply a casual viewer of movies and enjoyed pretty much everything I saw. I had no idea about film criticism, and when I got to the theater I decided on The Sixth Sense simply because it starred Bruce Willis. I didn’t know anything else about the film and was surprised it wasn’t another action vehicle from Willis. The film had a very slow and creepy opening, but I was sucked in by the story and the building atmosphere. I was enjoying the strong chemistry between Willis and Haley Joel Osment as the pair were trying to figure out what was causing these freaky visions. There were several surprisingly scary scenes that made me jump out of my seat a couple of times. The score was deeply effective as well. I was hooked from the very opening scene, but I was not at all prepared for the surprising and revealing twist at the end that left me completely blown away and speechless in the theater as the credits began rolling. I was in love with The Sixth Sense and from that moment on I have not stopped praising it.
I can’t believe all the signs that Shyamalan leaves behind for the audience while he is telling the story, and we still couldn’t see the twist coming. He practically has Osment spell it out in his famous scene with Willis. It was a movie I had to rewatch simply because of that twist, and the second viewing allowed me to appreciate the film even more by catching up on all the symbolisms and clues that the director left behind. In my opinion it is the best twist ever because you never feel cheated by it. I credit this movie for getting me interested in film as an art form, although the transition didn’t happen from one moment to the next. The performances from Willis, Olivia Williams, and Toni Collette are all great, but Osment stood out, and it remains one of the best child performances I’ve seen from a Hollywood film.