The Sixth Sense

A very curious structure compounded of many resemblances. Ultimately it converges on the home video of Falling Down, The Shining is visible throughout, and there is the great discovered disaster (The Fourth Protocol, out of Mrs. Miniver).

The basic ambiguity, which makes for a “double” film like Donaldson’s No Way Out, probably descends from Serling’s “A Passage for Trumpet” (The Twilight Zone), a sharp vision of Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (the suicide is very much alive, the Angel Gabriel tells him, it’s the others who are dead).

The discovered assailant is from J. Lee Thompson’s 10 to Midnight, the child psychologist from Equus.

Most remotely is an abstruse understanding, it may be, of Daryl Duke’s Griffin and Phoenix (for a strange order of revenants). Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You to Death is furthermore indicated, somewhat more brusquely.




In the classically English model of science-fiction satire, the earthlings are safely ensconced at a pub when, to their considerable surprise, something lands nearby and disgorges an inhabitant of outer space whose sex is dubious or unexplored (Devil Girl from Mars, Stranger from Venus).

Here, at a rural American farmhouse, the pace is quickened as you might say with astral graffiti of crop circles, which as you and I and the characters know, are pranks founded initially by two English artists.

Shyamalan is very good with rapid equations, one that ends in a POV of an alien’s baptism is economical and efficient, for example.

The clarity all this casts upon Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind is most uncanny, so that the earlier film almost seems like an anagram of Kramer’s Ship of Fools, with its sandstorm prologue of headlights and linguistic difficulties, and the WWII aviators disgorged by the superabundant alien craft.