Last week's "Shelf Life" looked back at Carrie, the iconic Brian De Palma movie that introduced the world to movies about terrifying teenage girls, the latest iteration of which is Diablo Cody's follow-up to Juno, Jennifer's Body. In anticipation of the upcoming movie Surrogates, which opens this Friday, we decided to revisit Bruce Willis' last great hit, The Sixth Sense, admittedly less because it has anything other than its star in common with Jonathan Mostow's technothriller than the fact that there are few movies in the last decade as acclaimed and commercially successful as M. Night Shyamalan's 1999 breakthrough. As such, we figured it was time to take a look at the movie that made "I see dead people" a pop culture catchphrase and examine whether it should truly live on as the classic it was originally considered.
The Facts: M. Night Shyamalan and his diminutive star, Haley Joel Osment, became overnight icons with this 1999 film about a doctor named Malcolm (played by Willis) desperately trying to reach a little boy named Cole who claims to see ghosts. Though it allegedly cost only $55 million to make, the film became the sleeper hit of that summer, earning some $670 million worldwide as well as six Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Director, Editor, and Original Screenplay. Meanwhile, the film drew almost unanimous praise from the critical community, and currently enjoys a 85 percent Tomatometer rating. Not to mention its greatest legacy – namely, making twist endings the hallmark (and eventually, Achilles' heel) of its director, most of whose subsequent movies featured some sort of third-act surprise.