Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 1999. Hollywood Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Barry Mendel Productions. Screenplay by M. Night Shyamalan. Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto. Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Barry Mendel. Music by James Newton Howard. Production Design by Larry Fulton. Costume Design by Joanna Johnston. Film Editing by Andrew Mondshein. Academy Awards 1999. Golden Globe Awards 1999. Las Vegas Film Critics Awards 1999.
Surprisingly creepy thriller about a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is terrorized by his ability to see dead people walking around just as well as he sees the living. With the help of a child psychiatrist (Bruce Willis) who has his own problems with his estranged wife (Olivia Williams), the boy tries to abate his fears by finding out what these spirits might want of him. Turns out they need his help to clear up some unfinished business with their loved ones before they leave the earth for good. Typical humdrum conventions of spiritual thrillers are avoided deftly by M. Night Shyamalan’s smooth direction and confident use of character of spectacle. Toni Collette is absolutely superb as the boy’s troubled mother, who tries but doesn’t know how to help her seemingly detached son.