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Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Rating: Overall Score: 8 out of 10
Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment are just a few of the names in this
clever and unsettling super natural thriller. M. Night Shyamalans’
(signs, unbreakable and the village) latest masterpiece uses clever
symbols and imagery to make the ultimate super natural thriller.
We meet Cole in his home in modern day Philadelphia filled with a red
brick past and dieing autumn leaves. Things from the beginning are
clearly not right; Cole has no friends and suffers from panic attacks.
The film makes several references to religion although more as
something of safety than a faith. His mother is desperately worried
and frustrated, you genuinely feel her and her son’s love for one
another but also the tension caused by lies. It is up to Dr Crow
(Bruce Willis- in a predictable but still interesting character) to
sort him out. Crow is haunted by memories of the past and a more
recent encounter with a former patient that seems to have ended his
marriage. Crow has to look deeper than his more usual cases and see
what is really there.
As the film goes on Dr Crow and Cole grow to trust each other until
after a frightening encounter at chucky cheese he learns Cole’s
secret. The grey air of a hospital ward is filled by the frightened
child’s steamy breath as he utters the now clichéd words –‘I see dead
people’. It is from then that the audience begins to see these
frightening characters everywhere and truly begins to understand
Cole’s fear, each ghost in a seemingly merciless and selfish quest.
The film centres on the relationship of Cole and Dr Crow but also that
of him and his wife and Cole and Cole’s mother. There are lots of
questions to be asked and there are points in the film when it seems
that Dr Crow’s and Cole’s relationship is ruining all else however it
is actually what can save them all.
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honesty and will undoubtedly grow up to become an even better actor.
Bruce Willis also manages to play the emotionally troubled man with
constant lost look across his face fairly successfully. Although this
film does use some cheap shock tactics they work well with the more
underlying frightening message. The quick scares you get help to keep
the viewer focused on the more important plot.
The film brings up the theme of communication and relationships. It is
heart breaking to watch Cole’s mother (Toni Colette) desperately
trying to work out what is wrong with her son and where the scratches
on his arm came from. It is only when Cole communicates properly with
his mother and with the ghosts that haunt him that he can take control
of the situation. It also raises the question of letting go and loss
between Dr Crow and is wife (Olivia Williams), which again can only
really be sorted through communication. It is this that will be the
main message I take from the film.
This frightening film stirs up many emotions and is ultimately very
successful. It has the power to make you think, scream and shudder.
Although possibly slow to start the pace soon quickens, ending with
one final twist!