Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is loved by the Substream staff more than Halloween. With October’s arrival, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a slew of special features we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day.
31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring column that will run throughout the month of October. The goal of this series is to supply every Substream reader with a daily horror (or Halloween-themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you will follow along at home. Reader, beware, you’re in for a… spooky good time!
Day 9: The Sixth Sense (1999)
[Editor’s Note: This article talks about the twist of The Sixth Sense. If you’re one of the two people on earth who doesn’t know how this movie ends, exercise caution.]
M. Night Shyamalan is a connoisseur of the supernatural and while his movies don’t always add elements of horror in them, they still fit well with some October viewing. The Sixth Sense deals with the dead in an unexpected, clever way. You have a boy, Cole (Haley Joel Osment), who sees the walking spiritual dead, which makes him suffer on a level no one understands. To place a child in this role makes sense, but also makes it more heart-breaking to watch.
Within the already twisted movie, Shyamalan throws in a twist that is still good even when you’ve seen the movie more than once and can see it coming. At the start of the film, there’s a traumatic event involving an almost unrecognizable Donnie Wahlberg. For Dr. Crowe (Bruce Willis), his life hangs in the balance in that moment. After that scene, we jump a year ahead and that does this movie a lot of good with its set up. Not showing what happens after Dr. Crowe is shot allows us to believe everything turned out all right.
Dr. Crowe gives it everything he has to help Cole. At one point, there’s a scene where Cole’s mom notices a little glare next to him in all of the photos. You immediately see the concern on her face and because Cole won’t tell her what’s wrong, she never knows what to do. The dynamics between all of the character pairings in the film work well. Dr. Crowe and Cole have this bond where he’s almost more of a father to him than a doctor. With Cole and his mom, it’s a struggle, but they both know that they’re each doing their best. These relationships around Cole make a lot of the scenes hit hard.
Cole is someone who spends a lot of time on his own. You see this at home and even when he’s at a birthday party. When he spends so much time by himself, not too many people are around to see what happens when he sees dead people. He freezes up or completely freaks out and you never really know which it will be. Can you imagine how you’d react if you saw dead people walking around and talking to you all day long?
Speaking of the dead, this film does a good job with how they portray the dead. They get gory and gruesome, but not in an unrealistic way. You see a boy with the back of his head blown off, a poisoned girl puking, and a woman with cuts on her wrists and forearms. They aren’t the only ones we get a look at, but you have to figure that this is only a small sample size of what Cole sees on a daily basis. He also sees dead people who may seem perfectly normal, which is where the twist comes in. Dr. Crowe did die at the beginning of the film, we just didn’t know it until the end (and neither did he). To have the character and the audience get that reveal at the same time makes it work.
The Sixth Sense might not make you jump out of your seat, but there’s no denying that dead people (and being able to see them) makes for a good Halloween movie. It’s not meant to be an immediately shocking experience. The movie is horrific in a totally different way. By the end of it, you just start to feel all sorts of unsettling emotions because of what just transpired.