The Sixth Sense Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Sixth Sense by James Newton Howard.
At a glance:
30 minutes of score
Geek Score: 88
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 14.18
Album Excellence: 47%
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In 1999 it all started for director M. Night Shyamalan. Sure, he had made movies before, but when The Sixth Sense came out with Bruce Willis, Shyamalan was declared a genius. That movie was special though. I’m still angry and baffled to this very day that I Was so fooled by this movie. How did I not see it? Well Shyamalan fooled millions like me and thus wrote movie history with one of IMDB’s Top 250 films ever. Basically, Bruce Willis plays a psyciatrist who trates a boy who sees dead people who don’t know they’re dead. This was of course the movie where Haley Joel Osment was declared a master of the arts for his perfomrance as Cole Sear. This is the only movie I remember him from though so I guess the follow up didn’t go so well. James Newton Howard has become known for collaborating with Shyamalan and this was their first collaboration. This review is part of Big J’s Sunday.
Even though this was Howard and Shyamalan’s first collaboration I feel this is the score that I hear least about. Doesn’t make sense does it? Even I can’t remember it so I’m giving this a new chance to see if I get some flashbacks and if the music holds up today. ‘Run To The Church’ is familiar, particularly the theme. It’s a minimalistic piano cue for the most part with some subtle strings a bit of woodwind and some vocal. A nice eerie opening cue. I really like that theme, and that’s one of those great things Howard did with Shyamalan’s movies. There was always some theme that grabbed you. ‘De Profundis’ give me an even stronger “aha” feeling. This is something I remember. There’s a secondary theme here and that’s even more memorable to me. The rest of the cue is more about setting the mood.
‘Mind Reading’ is all about the mood as well. A strong woodwind presence in this cue, it has something sad about it. The motif is easily forgettable. With ‘Suicide Ghost’ it is getting sseriously scary for the first time. I remember some very scary moments in this film and this is one of them. This is pure horror scoring from Howard and it’s extremely effective. ‘Malcolm’s Story / Cole’s Secret’ starts off with a beautiful John Barry-ish romantic way, but it gets a bit scary and dramatic. I love that string theme that Howard is giving us in the second part of the cue, then the main theme on piano. Lovely stuff. The scares are not over just yet. ‘Hanging Ghosts’ is horrific at times, but in a great way. The second half starts with an ominous but beautiful motif. ‘Kyra’s Tape’ has a ghostly sound to it, a male choir, very much in sync hums a ghostly theme while a single male voice adds a secondary melody. It ends with the penultimate ‘Malcolm Is Dead’, a cue that opens in a gothic horror fashion. I enjoy it very much and gives us a reprise of some of the themes from the score.
The Sixth Sense is a very good score, but as most beginnings, a bit fumbling of the ball, but it shows a strong sense of theme creation and mood. There are many Shyamalan/Howard collaborations that has been better musically, but this remains their best movie.
1. Run To The Church
5. Suicide Ghost
6. Malcolm’s Story / Cole’s Secret
7. Hanging Ghosts
11. Malcolm Is Dead