I See Dead People: The Making of ‘The Sixth Sense’

Applause. Nov. 2023. 176p. ISBN 9781493072286. pap. $21.95. FILM
Variety staff writer Nichols provides insights gleaned from numerous interviews with key players into the making of M. Night Shyamalan’s masterpiece, The Sixth Sense, in this accessible oral history. She reviews the film’s development, from 25-year-old Shyamalan shopping his script to the major studios to the casting of major talents, such as Bruce Willis (who was hesitant about Shyamalan as director) and Toni Collette (whose performance earned an Oscar nomination). Her book notes the primary filming location of the crumbling Philadelphia Convention Center, complete with spooky atmosphere and unexplained paranormal happenings. After Disney shocked the industry by paying $2.5 million for the script, the 1999 release broke records, cemented Shyamalan’s reputation as a director of supernatural movies, and provided one of the most widely quoted lines and original plot twists in modern movie history. Nichols offers a somewhat simplistic historical context for the film by comparing twist endings in films such as Scream, the paranormal abilities of the children of The Shining and Carrie, and American TV’s fascination with psychic powers and mediums.
VERDICT Primarily for die-hard fans of the film and Shyamalan.
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