The August 6, 1999 it was released in American cinemas The sixth sense, revelation film ofM. Night Shyamalan. In Italy the film arrived a few months later, on October 29 of the same year, preceded by an incredible fame. Critics from all over the world hailed him and made the director enter the Olympus of showbiz Hollywood. The welcome de The sixth sense was so warm, both from the public and the press, that in 2007 theAmerican Film Institute placed it in 89th place on the list of the 100 best US films ever.
The sixth sense changed thriller cinema, contaminating it with twists worthy of a horror film. Shyamalan’s film was so revolutionary that it influenced many later works and gave fans of the genre a new look at a cinematic proposal that, at the time, was already starting to be stale and full of cliche. The film features actors of the caliber of Bruce Willis, Toni Collette and an unforgettable (and very young at the time of the shooting of the film) Haley Joel Osment that terrified everyone with the famous joke “I see dead people”.
A Shocking Story
We said that the history of The sixth sense rewrites the rules of horror cinema. To testify this there are also the Oscar nomination, a ceremony in which it is very difficult to see films of this genre involved. The film, in fact, was candidate in different categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress (Haley Hoel Osment and Toni Collette respectively), Best Screenplay and Best Editing. Very few horror films in Hollywood history have had the privilege of being nominated for the Academy Award Dress and among them is The Exorcist.
The story told in it The sixth sense by M. Night Shyamalan is quite complex. Let’s follow the stories of one child psychotherapist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) who, following a house raid by a former patient of his, is the protagonist of a shooting. The film then starts again eight months later, when Crowe begins meetings with Colea nine-year-old boy. The therapist will do anything to help this little boy to deal with his “inner ghosts”, and is the protagonist of disconcerting revelations.
The excellently constructed story is supported by unprecedented writing and an equally innovative staging. slow succession of events, connected to each other by a thread that apparently we can not see and that will be revealed only at the end. In all likelihood, that of The sixth sense is one of the best endings of the history of contemporary cinema.
M. Night Shyamalanin the course of history, thanks to careful directorial choices, puts us in front of reality several timesboth with the use of particular shots (have you ever noticed that after the infamous Cole “I see dead people”, is a nice close-up of Crowe done?), and with the functional use of colors. For example, the use of red is a prerequisite for understanding some important passages in order to understand which are the dead and whichinstead, the living.
The Sixth Sense, the genesis of a myth
The origins of the story behind the The sixth sense are to be found in a little-known Canadian TV series of the nineties, entitled Are You Afraid of The Dark ?. The episode of the show that inspired the film by M. Night Shyamalan is calledThe Tale of the Dream Girland follows the story of a dead girl, unaware of her passing, who tries to continue her love relationship with her boyfriend.
Sure, the format of the Canadian TV show is very different than the movie, but we can see some parallels between the two products. Below you can see the full episodepublished on YouTube from the official channel of the tv series.
What we notice in this episode, lasting only about twenty minutes, is also a certain resemblance to the shots de The sixth sense. We understand immediately what struck M. Night Shyamalan, the directorial choices that highlight the loneliness of the characters, especially when they interact with the surrounding environment.
Another very important aspect of the film is the presence of a young actor, Haley Joel Osment who was eleven at the time of filming. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting ActorOsment reveals his artistic skills in a commendable way, giving the spectators one of the best “baby”Interpretations of the history of cinema.
It seems only right to remember that director Shyamalan chose precisely Haley to play the little Cole because the audition had already shown his great dedication to work. The little boy, in fact, he had spent sleepless nights studying the script and it is said that he showed up at the audition wearing a tie. The frightened eyes and the sometimes desperate look of the young performer are, perhaps, that extra gear that the film had to enter the annals of cinema.
The legacy of M. Night Shyamalan’s film
The Sixth Sense has influenced much of the film production gender thriller And horror of the first decade of the 2000s. We see a clear example in the film le Hidden Truths by director Robert Zemekis with Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford. Here too the climax, that is the growing tension and the almost brutal twists, and constitute the leitmotiv of the whole film.
The great influence of Shyamalan’s film can be found in the construction of the story. Now a horror movie no longer needs a crucible of jumpscare or repulsive figures, but it can be built entirely on profound psychological analysis of the characters. The most fortunate films of the Indian director certainly belong to this trend, but also other quality productions.
Among these we cannot fail to mention, for example, Shutter Island, Orphan, The Descent and other films that have, like The sixth sensea totally unexpected ending.
Shyamalan after the sixth sense
After The sixth senseM. Night Shyamalan gives us some extremely good films, but none that equal the debut in the big Hollywood industry. It is definitely worth remembering Unbreakable and the trilogy it started. The 2000 film has, in fact, had two subsequent films, Split of 2016 and Glass of 2019. The trilogy is one of Shyamalan’s best directorial performances and makes us forget some of his flops.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, the director, after some important tests, made several missteps, one above all, directing Lady in the Water and After Earth among all. A “break from quality” that lasted almost ten years. What is undoubted, however, are his skills as a screenwriter, a failed novelist, in short, who has decided to tell, through images, those that are the most hidden fears of humans, coming, in his latest trilogy, to bring out the animal instinct present in each of us.