M. Night Shyamalan’s debut is an excellent one that I’ve seen a handful of times – the first, as a terrified eleven-year-old subsequently deprived of sleep. The Sixth Sense‘s most chilling moments have been seared into my memory – but today, they don’t stand up as particularly scary, and I find myself re-categorising the film in my own mental IMDb.
The Shyamalan Twist™ is not what makes The Sixth Sense great. My most recent viewing drew my attention to the relationship between Crowe and Cole. One moment that stood out to me was during the bus trip to Kyra’s house – Cole’s first attempt at helping his tormenters. Whether dead or alive, both protagonists are trying to do one thing: be at peace. The only way they can do it: help people.
Maybe I’m ignorant for not picking up on the parallels in an earlier viewing. I’ve seen The Sixth Sense enough times – but each one had me either shitting my pants, or trying to spot all the brilliant ways Shyamalan hints at what is now one of the most well-known twists in cinema.
The Sixth Sense is by no means perfect. But it competently handles its many elements, and can be watched either as a thriller, or as a drama – in all likelihood, it depends how the viewer is feeling when they sit down. There’s enough there, however, to entertain several viewings, and clearly enough to sustain Shyamalan’s now-floundering career.