The year 1999 observed the release of revolutionary films like The Matrix and The Blair Witch Project. That was also the year that M. Night Shyamalan fearful audiences around the people with a haunted tale referred to as The sixth Sense. Starring Bruce Willis and also Haley Joel Osment, The sixth Sense nabbed 6 Oscar nominations and was the highest-grossing residential horror film for virtually two decades. And all this years later, we"re tho talking around Sixth Sense in hushed and also reverent tones, thanks to that incredible ending. 


This touching-yet-terrifying ghost flick end with among the greatest twists in movie history, a last revelation the carries a pop social impact rivaled just by The realm Strikes Back. The last couple of minutes redefine the entire film and give the movie a totally brand-new meaning. If you want to understand what the film is yes, really about, then neglect that suddenly chill and pay no fist to the bloody woman best behind you. Instead, let"s dive right into the ending of The 6th Sense and figure the end what"s keep going in Shyamalan"s contemporary masterpiece.

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This twisty tale of spirits and ESP starts with a quiet, romantic evening. After ~ the opened credits, we"re introduced to Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a respected son psychologist. This guy is a genuine pro when it concerns helping kids. In fact, he"s so specialized to his job that the city that Philadelphia has actually awarded him v a nice, glowing plaque. To celebrate the occasion, Malcolm and also his wife Anna (Olivia Williams) have decided to continue to be in, drink part wine, and also fool around.


These two space madly in love, and also Anna is exceptionally proud of her husband"s accomplishments. Yet hey, no marital relationship is perfect. Anna is emotion left out of Malcolm"s life, and also while she"s singing his praises, she mentions that he"s put everything 2nd — including her — to aid children in need. She doesn"t average it maliciously, but it"s other that"s going come stick through Malcolm because that a while. Still, that doesn"t spoil your evening, and the two quickly move to the bedroom... However the party involves a screeching halt as soon as Malcolm finds someone lurking in your bathroom.


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One minute, Malcolm Crowe is having actually a lover evening through his wife. The next, that discovers a practically nude dude hiding in his bathroom. This creepy man is Vincent Gray (Donnie Wahlberg), and he"s having a really rough night. He"s wearing only underwear, he"s extended in scratches, and despite every the tears, he"s a terrifying figure.


Malcolm easily recognizes Vincent together a former patient, all grown up and seriously unhinged. Shivering and also seething, Vincent lives in consistent fear and blames Malcolm for failing him together a child. The psychologist tries come console his old patient, but Vincent isn"t right here to reminisce. Instead, that pulls out a pistol and also shoots Malcolm in the stomach before taking his own life.

Bleeding badly, Malcolm falls on his bed, v Anna frantically trying come help, and it"s right here the step fades come black. In just eight minutes, M. Night Shyamalan has actually introduced two significant things that will certainly haunt Malcolm because that the remainder of the movie — his fail to assist Vincent and the fact that Anna feels choose she"s 2nd place in his life. Those regrets will certainly lead Malcolm right into the people of a terrified son who desperately requirements help.


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After Malcolm bring away a cartridge to the belly, we jump forward to "the next fall," whereby he seems to have recovered. ("Seems" is the key word here.) He"s sit on a bench, putting over a notebook, and waiting because that his brand-new patient: Cole Sear, an isolated nine-year-old who suffers indigenous a "possible atmosphere disorder." however when the lover Cole point out Malcolm, the kid immediately looks away and also goes full Usain Bolt, sprinting for a surrounding church.


Malcolm find his little patient hiding between the pews, whispering a prayer. The medical professional takes a seat and also apologizes for absent an earlier appointment, yet the son doesn"t react. Cole is exceptionally nervous approximately Malcolm (maybe because he knows something about this guy we don"t — hinthint). Fortunately, Malcolm is really great with kids and gets Cole to relax, but as they"re starting to connect, that notices the boy has some nasty scratches top top his arm. With his mysterious wounds and also paranoid behavior, Cole reminds Malcolm a entirety lot the Vincent, the kid he couldn"t help. Haunted by his failure, the good doctor is compelled to save Cole and right the wrongs of his past.

Of course, getting inside Cole"s head is going to be a challenge, and as their impromptu meeting involves an end, Malcolm look at Cole snatch a spiritual icon indigenous the prior of the church. It seems Cole has actually a solid affinity because that Catholicism, even if that isn"t large on the entirety "thou shall not steal" thing.


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So, who specifically is Cole Sear? Well, he"s an odd little boy with some an extremely uncanny abilities. That knows points that a nine-year-old shouldn"t know, like the truth his institution was once a courthouse whereby innocents to be hanged, and that his background teacher had a significant stuttering trouble when he was a boy. It"s virtually like someone an extremely old is giving him information about the past. Cole also practices free association writing, and the stuff he jots down is incredibly violent and disturbing. But is this comes from his mind, or is the something that heard from particularly angry soul? 


Regardless, the kid has some type of dark an enig that leaves him shaking in are afraid at night — miscellaneous so horrible he won"t also tell his mom, Lynn (Toni Collette). She"s a hard-working single mother whose life is fallout’s apart. She husband newly ditched her, she"s struggling v the fatality of her mom, and her boy is plainly troubled. Plus, she"s dealing with a the majority of weird stuff roughly the house. Rooms obtain chilly without explanation. Doors and cabinets store opening, seemingly on their own. And also if that wasn"t monster enough, Lynn notices strange glowing lights in every photograph of Cole. It"s virtually like there"s something mythological hovering near his shoulder, and also it"s beginning to feel favor this young is haunted by something as well as a mood disorder.


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While Cole is dealing with a traumatic secret, Malcolm"s obtained serious stuff going on in ~ home. Ever because the shooting, his marriage has actually been fallout’s apart. Things space so bad that Anna is eating alone and sleeping by herself. Even though Malcolm desperately wants to communicate with his wife, she simply won"t talk. Malcolm doubt she"s angry due to the fact that he"s for this reason wrapped increase in Cole"s case, but he feels Cole is his shot at redemption. Still, his 2nd chance can be ruining his love life.


Things come to a head as soon as Malcolm is late because that an anniversary dinner. When he ultimately arrives at an Italian restaurant to satisfy Anna, the finds her sitting alone, feather miserable. ~ sliding right into his chair, Malcolm apologizes because that being late, but she won"t say a word or make eye contact. That tries paying for the check, but Anna grabs it very first and climate walks away, leaving that dejected. Also worse, Malcolm records his mam embracing an additional man. The two room on the verge that a kiss when Malcolm angrily punches a window. That course, he takes turn off running before they view him, leaving only a cracked pane in his wake. As much as Anna is concerned, it"s nearly like Malcolm was never really there.


The sixth Sense is full of small clues for the significant twist that"s coming. Because that example, transparent the film, Malcolm is constantly do the efforts to acquire into his office, i m sorry is down in his wine cellar. But every time the jiggles the red doorknob, it"s locked. Cue Malcolm fumbling because that his keys, a fast cut, and then he"s instantly in the cellar. This might seem favor standard movie editing, however it"s crucial to keep in mind that we never ever see Malcolm open the door. Log the away because that later.


And climate there"s the mind-reading game. Cole comes home from school to uncover his mom and Malcolm silently wait for him. Cole immediately goes quiet and waits because that his mother to leave prior to looking in ~ the doctor. Also then, the won"t to speak a word, therefore Malcolm devises a "mind-reading" game to interact with the kid. He"ll assumption: v facts around Cole"s life, and if he it s okay something right, the boy will certainly take one action forward. This permit us discover some details about Cole (for instance, that doesn"t think Malcolm can aid him). However is that because Cole doesn"t trust psychologists, or is that something spookier?

Cole"s actions right here are an extremely telling. That refuses to speak come Malcolm till he"s sure his mom is the end of earshot. He even looks into the kitchen to make certain she"s busy before playing the mind-reading game. It"s virtually like he doesn"t want his mommy to understand he"s talking v Malcolm. Is this the habits of a troubled child, or go Cole know something around this guy we don"t? Here"s a hint: it"s certainly the latter.


Up until this point, The 6th Sense has been coy around what"s wrong v Cole. But when he attends a birthday party, the boy hears a frightening, upset voice coming from a behind a thick, solid door. Cole is plainly freaked out, and things obtain worse as soon as a team of bullies lock him within the closet. The kid goes right into panic mode, and when he ultimately escapes, Cole is therefore traumatized the he ends up in the hospital.


And it"s there, after number of scenes that bonding with his psychologist, the Cole expose his secret to Malcolm, dropping among the all-time iconic movie lines: "I watch dead people." follow to Cole, that sees ghosts everywhere, and over the next few scenes, the lays out part paranormal guidelines. Ghosts don"t recognize they"re dead, and they can"t check out each other. They only see what they desire to see, which method they neglect proof the they"re dead. Additionally, if a ghost gets angry or upset, the temperature drops and things acquire frosty, i beg your pardon is why it"s constantly cold at Cole"s house.

Once Cole returns home, we ultimately get glimpses that the terrifying soul world. There"s a suicidal housewife in his kitchen and also a kid with his brain blown the end wanders right into Cole"s bedroom. Also at school, Cole sees three old-timey farmer hanging native the rafters. The ghosts seem attracted to Cole, and whenever lock arrive, that hides in a makeshift time filled through stolen religious icons to save the spirits at bay. After ~ all, these ghosts speak horrible, scary things, and also sometimes they attack, leaving Cole scratched and also bruised. Through these gruesome ghosts around, it"s no wonder Cole is a little screwed up.


How do you resolve a problem like Cole Sear? Well, in ~ first, Malcolm trust his patience is enduring from schizophrenia. Yet as he digs right into his research, the psychologist makes a shocking spiritual discovery. When going with audio recordings of old sessions with Vincent Gray, Malcolm hears a faint voice in the background. When he turns up the volume, he realizes there"s someone else in the room, talking to Vincent in a foreign language and screaming, "I don"t want to die."


That"s once Malcolm realizes that both Vincent and Cole have been blessed/cursed with the capability to watch the dead. And now the he understands what"s walking on, Malcolm establishes a concept that might help Cole. Possibly these ghosts aren"t mean, Malcolm reasons. Probably they simply want who to listen. Probably they need to finish an unfinished task before they deserve to shuffle off this mortal coil, and also maybe Cole should assist them. It"s fairly a load for a small boy, however Cole agrees to try. When a ghostly little girl with vomit pouring from her mouth mirrors up, Cole goes native terrified son to Phantom exclusive Eye.


With Malcolm through his side, Cole the Ghost Detective takes a trip across town come visit the home of the sickly ghost girl. Once the duo arrives, they discover a depressing funeral reception because that the freshly departed girl. But as Malcolm and Cole are exploring the home (without anyone paying fist to Malcolm, you could notice), the ghost girl shows up and also hands Cole a videotape.


VHS in hand, Cole provides the tape come the small girl"s dad. And also when the pops the in the VCR, the dad look at a an enig recording that his wife poisoning his daughter. It"s a messed-up case of Munchausen by proxy, yet thanks come Cole, the tiny girl it s okay justice, conserves her younger sister native a comparable fate, and moves on come the following plane.

After realizing these spirits simply need help, Cole find himself less afraid of the gore-caked ghosts. He deserve to now exploit his sixth feeling for good, and he won"t end up like bad Vincent. Sadly, that method it"s time because that Malcolm to go, but prior to he fades indigenous Cole"s life, the two share some sage advice. Malcolm motivates Cole come tell his mom around his ghostly abilities, and also Cole gives Malcolm a pointer on just how to talk through his wife: wait until she"s asleep, and then she"ll listen and also won"t also know it. Malcolm doesn"t establish it yet, but that guideline will finally set him free.


For nine years, Cole Sear has actually seen ghosts, and for nine years, he"s retained that a mystery from his mom. He"s concerned she"ll think he"s a freak, however now he"s all set to come clean. Grounding in a website traffic jam, Cole claims there"s one accident increase ahead, the a lady died in the wreck... And also that she"s standing right by his window. Lynn Sear is freaked the end by this, but things get even creepier as soon as Cole lets her know that "Grandma says hi."


That"s when Cole describes that his deceased grandmother access time him occasionally, and also then the starts dropping info that only Lynn and also her mother would know. In one of the film"s most emotional moments, Cole it is provided a short message native his grandma to she daughter: "Every day." Those two words cause his mommy to failure crying because, as we find out, Lynn when went to she mother"s grave and also asked, "Do ns make girlfriend proud?" currently she lastly knows the answer.

Not only deserve to Cole assist the dead, yet he additionally brings comfort to the living. This scene likewise lets us recognize that also if Malcolm is no longer his doctor, Cole is walking to be okay. ~ all, his mom believes in his powers and also will constantly be here for this tiny guy. However as because that Malcolm, well, the specialized doctor is in for one creepy surprise.


The greatest twist in horror history starts through somebody sleeping. As soon as Malcolm return home, he find his mam conked the end in prior of the TV. She"s drifted off watching videos of your wedding day, for this reason Malcolm takes Cole"s advice and also talks to the unconscious Anna. Still asleep, Anna responds, "Why walk you leave me?" and also that"s once the round drops... Or rather, the jewelry does.


A wedding ring tumbles the end of Anna"s hand and clatters to the floor. Malcolm sees that Anna is quiet wearing her own ring, and suddenly realizes his wedding tape is gone. He believed he"d to be wearing it, however no, his wife had actually it all along. And that"s when everything clicks. 

Panicking, Malcolm remembers Cole"s big speech around how ghosts don"t understand their dead and also how they just see what they desire to. And now, he unexpectedly realizes the truth... And realizes there"s a huge bloody stain on his shirt, courtesy of Vincent"s bullet. As he freaks out, the room grow chilly, and Anna"s breath fogs up. Now, Anna giving him the cold shoulder makes means more sense. She hasn"t been ignoring Malcolm — he"s to be dead because the start of the movie.


Why hasn"t he relocated on? Well, Malcolm has been haunted by two large things: failing Vincent and making his wife feel less necessary than his work. Currently that he"s conserved Cole, he can inspect Regret #1 turn off the list. And after accepting that he"s dead, Malcolm sits by his resting wife and also tells her, "You were never ever second. Ever. I love you." even though she"s unconscious, Anna gets the message, and also that gives Malcolm the peace and also courage to finally fade into the afterlife.


So just how did Sixth Sense save its twisted a secret from both the audience and also its characters? Well, an initial off, Ghost Malcolm never interacts through anybody as well as Cole. In the scene where Malcolm and Lynn room seated across from each other, Lynn has no proviso he"s there. That"s why Cole won"t talk to Malcolm until his mother leaves the room. Malcolm, on the various other hand, doesn"t notification that Lynn is ignoring him. Ghosts are in such denial the they neglect anything the proves they"re really dead. 


And Malcolm never ever had any type of "appointments" with Cole. The medical professional was drawn to the kid since of Cole"s sixth sense, and he justifies the by imagining that they had actually a meeting. He also ignores inconvenient details like that pesky office door. As soon as Malcolm realizes he"s dead, he finally sees why the was constantly "locked" — Anna dragged a table in prior of it because she didn"t want to visit her dead husband"s workspace. But Malcolm has been remote to the table, and also after fumbling about for his keys, he would certainly unknowingly drift through the walls, i m sorry is why we never ever see him open the door.

But what about the anniversary dinner date? In the people of The Sixth Sense, ghosts can influence physical objects, as when Malcolm angrily smashes a window. For this reason why doesn"t Anna an alert stuff moving approximately at the restaurant? Well, due to the fact that Malcolm never ever touches anything. The doesn"t move his chair and also he doesn"t take the check, for this reason Anna never ever realizes her spectral husband is sitting best there.


Really, there"s a large tip-off as soon as Cole watch Malcolm for the first time. The kid takes off running for a church due to the fact that he deserve to see the bloody stain on Malcolm"s shirt. He to know Malcolm is just one more dead guy, and also he just starts trusting him as soon as Malcolm proves he"s no a scary spirit. No matter how tough we look, there simply aren"t any kind of plot holes in this ghostly masterpiece.


M. Night Shyamalan is a director that loves playing with colors (see the Unbreakable trilogy and The Village because that proof), and also when it concerns The sixth Sense, red is a significant motif used, together the director has actually explained, "to suggest anything in the real world that has been tainted by the various other world." and if you"re payment close attention, you"ll clues red almost everywhere this freaky film.


When Cole looks for sanctuary in the Catholic church, the prior door is bright red. Whenever Malcolm tries to acquire into his cellar office, he"s struggling v a red doorknob. The murderous mommy wears red at she daughter"s funeral, Lynn wears a red top when Cole expose his secret, and also Anna is constantly surrounding by red, particularly when Malcolm is near. She sleeps through a red blanket, put on a red dress to your anniversary dinner, and also takes red antidepressant pills to attend to her grief.

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Cole"s little tent is clearly red, and also when he"s attacked by the ghost in ~ the birthday party, red is everywhere. A red balloon leads him to the spirit, and when the ghost attacks, that tears his red sweater. Shyamalan go a masterful job of using the color to bridge the gap between the genuine world and also the supernatural. Mental — red means dead.