Sample Movie Review on The Sixth Sense (1999)
Analysis of the movie, The Sixth Sense, from a modern perspective shows that the film is not a thriller. It is a ghost story that flourished some decades ago, for its subtle storytelling that springs an unexpected twist in the climax. In the past, people believed that children were more attuned to hidden dimensions. Stories of children with imaginary friends abound. In the movie, a small boy explains to a psychologist how he was able to see dead individuals. In fact, the boy postulates how the dead people want him to do certain things for them, and he seems articulate in what he says. Although the film is not a horror movie or a thriller, its quiet dialogue, sporadic yelps comparable to sudden bursts of violins, and a doe-eyed Osment, that creates a sense of fear, dread, and fright. This makes watching the movie an overwhelmingly scary experience for the audience. Nevertheless, it is the acting, music, and editing pace in the scene from The Sixth Sense that causes the viewers to relate closely with the character’s emotions. Such identification makes some scenes scary, because the audience wonders what will happen to the character.
First, acting has been used to link the audience and character. Empathy with the character, and identification with the character’s emotions make people react to the different characters in movies. For instance, when the character in a movie becomes tense, the audience reacts with fear. In the movie, The Sixth Sense, the scene begins by setting up Cole’s isolation, with shots of the empty house. When Cole quietly opens the door, and peeps out, the audience can sense the beginning of his dread. As he squirms at his bedroom door wanting a wee desperately, he is freaking with the fear of encountering ghosts. Cole is scared, because he does not know whether to cross over to the invisible line next to his bedroom door. This makes the audience anxious about what Cole’s next move, because they do not know what will happen to him.
Additionally, acting creates a linkage between the character and the audience when Cole waddles to a toilet next to him, and lets loose. The shot cuts to a close-up of the thermostat lowers ominously. Instantly, the scene returns to Cole in the toilet, and a figure in red passes the screen. Cole senses the movement, and exhales as he slowly turns in dread, his foggy breath alluding to the cold temperature. The slow walk through the corridor, as the sound of crinkling packets in the kitchen can be heard, builds a frightening tension. The audience, feeling the panic in this case, would probably shout in horror to the child: go inside the tent, don’t go to that bloody kitchen. As Cole calls out to his mother, the figure in the kitchen turns around, revealing a ghost who shouts ‘Dinner is not ready. What are you going to do? You can’t hurt any more!’ The ghost holds out her slashed wrists. The shot quickly changes to Cole running through the corridor, as the ghost shouts out, and a scared Cole reaches the tent. The next shot is the ghost standing at the kitchen door, and Cole is breathing heavily inside the tent, surround by religious figurines for protection.
Second, the pace of editing used in the scene creates varied emotions that make the audience identify with Cole. The slow visual pace of Cole squirming at the door in the scene’s beginning, Cole’s slow turn on sensing the ghost, the slow walk through the corridor to the kitchen build suspense and the audience’s tension. The sudden movement of the ghost, and Cole’s panicked reaction in the kitchen create a sense of urgency. Additionally, the quick transitions after each ominous shot, such as the thermostat turning, the ghost turning, the slashed wrists, create a freakish experience for the audience. It is also worth mentioning that the long-duration camera shots indicate Cole’s calmness as he contemplates the next action or move, while simultaneously making the audience scared in anticipation.
Most significantly, the scene uses music effectively, with reveal shots of the ghost, and the slashed wrists, accompanied with high-strung bursts of music. Moreover, the movie’s use of the color ‘red’ to depict the sense of danger is consistent in the scene.
In conclusion, the pace makes the audience feel the tension, and emotions within themselves as they watch. As a result, the audience identifies with the Cole’s character, and shares the frenzied experience of fear. The way Osment performs different actions, and emotions also makes the audience identify with the character.