The Sixth Sense
(By Gerry Wang)

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(Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment; directed by M. Night Shyamalan)
by Gerry Wang

    Before I begin reviewing THE SIXTH SENSE, I wanna launch in a little spiel over my whole movie-going experience. Also, refer to my MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE review for a spiel over Valentine's Day.

    It's amazing how a select few people of the population, less than 1% probably, can completely ruin a movie-going experience for the rest of the 99%. These are the few Mehican cholos who think they are wannabe esses. They cut in the way front of the line maybe 15 minutes before you're allowed in. Meanwhile, you're waiting for 2 hours. They don't care. They just look at you w/ disdain as they casually cut in front. Fuck 'em. I get so pissed sometimes. I get THIS close to brawling. If I had some more thug friends then hell yeah we'd do something to them afterwards. Oh well, I rationalize by saying that's it's these Mehican immigrants that will bus my table in the future. Fuck 'em.

    And it's these same El Immigratos that breed like rabbits, producing a ton of illegitimate kids that have no concept of discipline. They run around, smacking people in the balls, and the parents just ignore it. Fuck 'em. I saw THE SIXTH SENSE at 12:15AM yesterday. The Mehicans brought their kids to the same showing. Don't they have a goddamn bedtime? And what the hell are they taking kids to a scary movie for? Isn't the inevitable response they're gonna get crying and bawling and screaming? Goddamn, Mehicans are the worst parents. They don't instill any sense of values in their kids. Their kids are the ones that turn into gangsta cholos that drop out of high school. Don't bring kids to a movie you know will give them nightmares. Idiots.

    Fuck 'em. That's all I'll say about Mehicans. The same applies for Negroes, but that's another story. End of spiel for now. Getting back to THE SIXTH SENSE, which was a fantastic movie that rose above the unruly crowds I saw it with and deeply moved me inside. If the movie sucked, I'd be saying more than just "f*ck 'em" over the rude-as-hell Mehicans.
At least they didn't ruin the effect of the movie on me.

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    With the recent abudance of horror films these days, I didn't expect THE SIXTH SENSE to scare me much. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was a phenomenal atrocity. THE HAUNTING had promise, but found a way to chafe my skin. THE MUMMY was supposed to be scary, but it turned hokey, a horror film no-no. I wasn't scared in any of these movies. When I first saw what THE SIXTH SENSE was about, I thought, oh wow, what's Bruce Willis gonna do, blast ghosts GHOSTBUSTERS style? Har har.

    So I quite surprised to learn that THE SIXTH SENSE scared the bowels out of me. It freaked me out so much that there was almost a disturbance in the Gerry Wang Urinary Bladder Regulation System (GWUBRS). When I got home, I didn't sleep till the sun came out because I was still chilled to the bone. I shivered under 2 layers of blankets. I kept hearing noises. Every time I tried to sleep, a sound woke me up, and I looked out the window. For some odd reason, I swore I heard people talking at 4 AM.

    Now, I've always been a believer in the paranormal and supernatural. I believe in the existence of the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot, though I am more prone to be skeptical regarding those entities. I believe in aliens, and I also believe they've made contact w/ us. Crop circles are their way of communicating w/ us. I also believe in sorcery and magic, but I think we all are capable of it if we use 100% of our brain. We only use like 10%. Once we unlock the rest, we'll be telepathic. And there will be world peace because we'll finally be able to realize war sucks.

    Anyways, what supernatural concept I believed in most was ghosts. I believe they walk among us. I believe they have old scores to settle. That's why they haunt us. They're stuck in an earthbound Purgatory, wandering the land forever. This is what THE SIXTH SENSE is about. Spirits are always among us, but we can't see them. They can see us. When we get goosebumps for no reason, that's them. When we feel like we're sinking and falling down yet we're completely still, that's them. When we feel the prickly things on our neck, that's them. When we all of a sudden shudder from cold that's come out of nowhere, that's them. Ghosts are everywhere.

bruce-and-haley.jpg (33024 bytes)    But imagine being able to see them. That's the premise of THE SIXTH SENSE. Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is a little boy blessed, or rather cursed, by the ability to see apparitions. They visit him at night, stir him out of bed, and assault him. He gets scratches all over himself as they thrash him. But of course no one will believe him, not even his own mother, so he doesn't tell anymore. He spends his whole life paranoid, looking over his shoulder in fear. There's always the chance that the next time he turns a corner, a ghost will be standing right there, mangled and looking like they did when they died. Imagine being able to see ghosts. Terrifying. I'm f*cking freaking out as I type this.

    Thankfully Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a child psychologist, was there to help Cole overcome his problem. Malcolm was shot just a year ago by a deranged former child patient that blamed him for misdiagnosing him. So Malcolm wants to set things right and help Cole. Whenever Bruce Willis was around, I felt a tremendous amount of security. Perhaps it's from his macho persona that he's helped propogate w/ his action hero roles, but I doubt it. Bruce Willis' character was someone who Cole could turn to w/ problems, and we felt thankful for Malcolm's presence. We knew if Bruce Willis was there, nothing bad would happen. Or at least we hoped.
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    What really drove THE SIXTH SENSE was the acting and directing. Haley Joel Osment, the same kid from FORREST GUMP and that sitcom w/ Ed Asner, did such a convincing job as Cole Sear. Those tears we saw were genuine fear and paranoia. The look in his eyes were genuine sadness and longing for normalcy. Cole was outcast from his schoolmates. He always got in trouble in school. All he wanted was to be a normal kiddo. The way Haley Joel Osment was able to convey such depth in his character made me wish that he played Anakin Skywalker. What was George Lucas thinking. This kid woulda been perfect. Screw Jake Lloyd, even though he did a decently mediocre job. You know, it's cool to think that young actors like Haley will grow up into the Harrison Fords and Tom Cruises of the distant future. They're the ones my grandkids will worship. Cool. Haley reminds me of Edward Norton as a tyke. Hope he gets Oscar-nominated.

    Bruce Willis also delivers one of his most dramatic and touching roles ever. Remember GHOST, starring his ex-wife Demi Moore? Well, he got his revenge. While GHOST made we wanna fall on my sword, THE SIXTH SENSE totally wrought me w/ emotion. Malcolm Crowe is one of this summer's most tragic characters. Great job by Bruce Willis, who reminds us that he is an actor first, buff musclehead second.

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    Even the minor characters do such a terrific job. Every character in THE SIXTH SENSE seemed so realistic. They were so deeply written. Toni Collette shone as Cole's single mom, who dearly loves her boy, yet is devastated by the fact that she can't do anything to help her. When she asks him to tell her the truth about whose been moving things around the house, he keeps saying it wasn't him--the truth, but it crushes her because she thinks her own son is looking into her eyes and lying. Great performances. Then there was Bruce Willis' estranged wife, who did an excellent job at showing her grief over a marriage that was crumbling. Totally believable.

    But aside from top-notch performances by his cast, M. Night Shyalaman also wove a titillating story that hooked you from beginning to end. He delivered many scares. And not just the usual BOO! I'm behind you! scare, but genuine terrifying frights. I was so scared that at some points I just had to close my eyes. The way Shyalaman was able to create suspense, through weird noises and the temperature dropping at mist appearing in the breath of the people...............oh my goodness I was so scared. Whenever the ghosts came, I just couldn't watch. I had to squint and peep out of a tiny slit. I couldn't sit still. Credit Shyalaman and cinematographer Tak Fujimoto for creating a gritty, brooding atmosphere in Philadelphia. Even the old-looking buildings looked scary. What a great job of not talking down to the audience. Letting us figure things out on our own. Letting us use our own imaginations to freak ourselves out. The haunting musical score also facilitated the terror efficiently.

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haley.jpg (14497 bytes)    I don't want to discuss the movie any further. I want you to go be frightened and touched. THE SIXTH SENSE hits you where you're vulnerable. On one hand, you're scared shitless. On the other hand, you feel a tremendous amount of sorrow and sympathy for Cole and Malcolm and the other characters. Expect a whirlwind of emotion when you watch.

    I'm warning you, don't watch this movie alone. You will be afraid to be alone. THE SIXTH SENSE is definitely the summer's best movie. And no, THE PHANTOM MENACE doesn't count because it was released in the spring, so ha! I am still loyal.

Babe-o-meter: 1- Butt ugly banshees (And yes, literally banshees. Banshees are shrieking female ghosts, btw)