"The Sixth Sense" (which has quite a few similarities to the upcoming "A Stir of Echoes") is mainly disappointing because it had potential -and lots of it. Although marketed as a thriller with Marilyn Manson's "I Put a Spell on You" blaring during its preview, it almost non-existently examines the supernatural like it promises.One of the film's main problems is its pacing; it craws sluggishly along the entire picture while the audience suspensefully waits for something to happen. The concept of "The Sixth Sense" is from the original screenplay by newcomer M. Night Shyamalan, who also helms the direction. Respectfully understood, mainstream pictures don't need explosions every thirty-seconds to keep the audience involved, but by the end of this, Shyamalan gives up all but one and a half chances to show the boy's ability in use. Instead it's used to lure the audience in, and only tantalize us with the possibilities when it should have taken several deserved opportunities. "The Sixth Sense" also reminded me of a film which recently played at the Ken called "Afterlife," which similarly dealt with the occurrences of the posthumous, yet was also capsized because of its pacing. When you forget about your audience, the audience will forget about the film. But the film does have its merits which make it watchable. Willis turns in a very nice undermined role; he kept the film intriguing enough that it kept its interesting appeal. But Willis was also undermined by an outstanding performance by child-actor Haley Joel Osment. One can only wonder what the motivation was that the filmmakers gave him. Lastly, also worth mention is the film's clever trick ending. It gives the audience a chance to examine the entirety of the film, and very originally, it works (much better than the would-be surprise ending in "Limbo"). However, it's doubtful whether it will cause any repeated viewings.
PostScript2000: Now as I am uploading this from some of my older, filed-away capsule reviews, obviously I was wrong. It caused plenty of repeat viewings. I never bothered to sit down and watch it again, although I have seen some scenes again since. I stick by my assessment that it was too slow and that Shyamalan wasted great opportunities to use the boy's gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it).Final Verdict: C-.