Review- The Sixth Sense (1999)

by Nevin Hooper (guest classic movie reviewer)

Hello (again), fans of classic movies! I am back after reviewing the Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I had no idea what to review next until I realized that the new movie IT just came out, which is about a bunch of kids who are troubled with frightening visions of their fears. So, why not review the film that started that genre…. The Sixth Sense.

If you are new to my reviews, we should get caught up on my grading system for movies. I rate movies on a range from 0/10 (movies that are so horrible that they should have never been made), to an 11/10 (movies that are so great, so amazing, that you just can’t give the average 10/10 grade). Now that you are caught up with that, on to the review!

Considered one of the best films of the year 1999, The Sixth Sense is still the best and most successful film by M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan nowadays has given himself a reputation of some great movies (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable), but then started to really drag and made a lot of terrible films (The Happening, The Lady in the Water, The Last Airbender), and now has started to redeem himself in making some more better films (The Visit, Split). So let’s talk about the first film that gained him an incredible reputation: The Sixth Sense.

This film tells the story of acclaimed child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis, in a fascinatingly underrated performance) who, after a frightening encounter from one of his last patient’s, tries to figure out the troubled 8-year-old, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment, in one of the best child performances ever that got him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor), but once Malcolm delves deeper into the mind of the frightened Cole, more secrets are revealed, which come with some frightening consequences.

Being one of my favorite films, The Sixth Sense has phenomenal performances from all, especially from the young Osment, but do not forget the brilliant performance by Willis, who is really the heart and sole of the film. But, what this film is most noted for is it’s unpredictable twists and turns in the story that are better left unspoiled. Shyamalan’s spooky script also does something that is very unusual for this type of film: it doesn’t focus on the horrifying secrets that Cole is revealing, but focuses on the personal drama between boy and psychologist. The relationship between them is fantastic, but the fact that the film is more of an emotional drama than a spooky story is what makes the film phenomenal. With amazing direction, subtle hints of what is to come, and brilliant use of the color red, it is just one of those must see films that I have to give an 11/10.

Review- IT (1990, the classic adaptation)

by Brandon Matzke (guest modern movie reviewer)

Rating: TV-14

Since the newest version of the terrifying Stephen King novel is coming out this week (I have seen the movie, it’s a 10/10), I thought it would be fun to look back at the TV mini-series that “scared a generation”; IT (starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the dancing clown). So, after days of searching Goodwills for a copy (and finally buying one on VHS for a dollar), and 3 and ½ hours of watching, I finally decided to review it. So, how was the classic mini-series? Well… I honestly have no idea. I’m gonna have to do something unusual for me: divide this into positives and negatives. But before I tell you my thoughts, I have to explain the structure. IT uses what I like to call the “Nolan formula”, where it often switches between past and present (this film’s present is 1986). So, half of the series follows the characters as children growing up in the town of Derry during the 50s, while the other half follows them as adults re-entering Derry to combat a childhood fear: Pennywise. Make sense? Well, let’s get this started!

Positives

1. The child actors

Believe it or not, but the kids in this movie are surprisingly talented. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that a young Seth Green was cast, but for the most part, they did pretty well. Sometimes, even better than the adults! The kids brought emotion into the film, and if the entire film was focused on the kids, I would’ve enjoyed it much more.

2. Tim Curry as Pennywise

I feel kind of strange about Curry’s iconic take on the child-devouring clown; part of me loved every second of him on screen, while another felt he was in the wrong movie. Let me explain. Curry was surprisingly a laugh riot; every joke he made had me cracking up. He truly stole the show. But at the same time, he was supposed to be scary. And the rest of the film took itself very seriously, so it felt rather jarring. Welcome, but jarring.

3. It’s surprisingly tame for a “scary movie”

This is probably the tamest Stephen King adaptation I’ve ever seen, despite the fact that it’s based on one of his most disturbing works. There’s nothing too gory, and it never gets too creepy. If you’re curious about scary movies, but aren’t exactly ready for Alien (my personal favorite scary movie), then this one is a great place to start.

Now onto the negatives. Oh boy…

1. The adults

Nothing against these people, but sometimes the acting from the adults feels rather bland. I don’t if it’s because their child counterparts did such a great job, but I found myself dreading seeing the adults’ stories. They were kind of predictable.They definitely dragged down the second half, since it was almost entirely focused on them.

2. The plotholes

Some plot points make zero sense at times, and I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t so “in your face” about some of them. For spoiler’s sake, I will not cover them, but they do annoy me. If you’re there for Tim Curry though, then it won’t be much of a bother.

3. The stop-motion

Listen, I used to make stop-motion films; I know how hard it is to use it properly. But the stop-motion in the film has not aged well. It looks extremely dated, and feels very out of place. But, again, it won’t be much of a bother to those there for a good time.

4. The Stephen King cliches I don’t know if these are as abundant in the novel as they are in this movie, but they do get on my nerves. If you don’t know them, then you’re going to have a lot more fun than I did. Trust me when I say that.

Final Thoughts

So, those were my personal thoughts on IT, a mini-series I sadly did not enjoy. But, for a few reasons, I still recommend it in a weird way. Tim Curry’s take on Pennywise is something you need to see to believe. This man was clearly having the time of his life doing this, and it shows. The childhood half of the movie works well acting as a sort of “supernatural coming of age” story. And, again, it’s a decent introduction to those who are curious about scary movies. Plus, it’s a great watch with friends.

I had a great time getting through this thanks to a very close friend, and I highly recommend getting as many of your pals together to watch this. It might not have been my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some enjoyment to be had. I personally give it a 6/10, but it’s clear that others can enjoy this more. Is it the best Stephen King adaptation? Not even close (nothing can beat The Shawshank Redemption). Is it the worst? As someone who has seen most of the worst (never watch Maximum Overdrive, Dreamcatcher, Sleepwalkers, etc. ), I can gladly say no. It’s somewhere in the middle. You either adore it, think it’s OK (me), or hate it.

Other reviews:

62% on Rotten Tomatoes

6.9/10 on IMDb