Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
Plot: Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis)is a child psychologist who receives an award on the same night that he is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient. After this encounter, Crowe takes on the task of curing a young boy with the same ills as the ex-patient (Donnie Wahlberg) . This boy "sees dead people". Crowe spends a lot of time with the boy much to the dismay of his wife (Olivia Williams). Cole's mom (Toni Collette) is at her wit's end with what to do about her son's increasing problems. Crowe is the boy's only hope.
Toni Collette has said that she was so moved by the emotional resonance of the story while filming, she did not even realize it was a horror film until after its release.
Filmed in sequence.
A lot of the members of M. Night Shyamalan's family are doctors. This is the reason why he cameos as a doctor, as a tribute to his family.
The voice on the tape of Vincent's session is speaking Spanish; the person is saying, "Please, I don't want to die Lord, save me, save me."
The Latin phrase Cole speaks in the church when he first meets Malcolm, "De profundis clamo ad te domine," translates to "Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord." These are the first few words of Psalm 130 in the Book of Psalms.
According to Michael Cera, this was the first film that he ever auditioned for. He read for the part of Cole, but the role ultimately went to Haley Joel Osment.
The color red is used to indicate the presence of evil or a ghost. When Malcolm is listening to the tape recording of Vincent and his session, as he turns up the volume the numbers on the tape player turn from white to red as they increase. The doorknob to Malcolm's basement is red. Cole's school uniform jacket is reddish (maroon); he is often approached by the dead people while at school and/or wearing his uniform. Anna wears a red dress at the restaurant where Malcolm is "late" for their anniversary. Cole's "free association" writing is in red ink; the writing presumably records things he has heard from the dead. At the birthday party, all the visible balloons are pastel-colored, except for the red balloon that floats up the stairway and leads Cole to the small closet. Cole is wearing a red sweater when he is attacked by the spirit in the closet. Cole's blanket at the hospital is reddish (pink) when he confesses to Malcolm that he sees dead people. The birthday gift Anna gives to Sean is in a red box, and she is wearing red when the two of them embrace and Malcolm breaks the shop door.Kyra Collins appears in Cole's fort, and the blanket covering it is red. The box containing Kyra's VHS tape is trimmed in red and has a red-lined interior. The outfit worn by Mrs. Collins at Kyra's wake is bright red, and she is the only person wearing a bright color. In the video, the soup Mrs. Collins brings to Kyra is tomato soup, and the bottle of pine cleaner Mrs. Collins adds to the soup has a red cap on it. The bicyclist Cole sees next to the car is wearing a red helmet. The blanket that Anna Crowe covers herself with while watching the wedding video is red.
In the scene when Cole says the famous line, "I see dead people," the camera does a closeup on Bruce Willis's face. Producer Frank Marshall was worried that might have given the game away. It implied that Malcolm was a dead person. Fortunately, none of the audiences in the test screenings or afterwards picked up on it.
According to M. Night Shyamalan, the movie was inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990) called Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The Tale of the Dream Girl (1994), directed by David Winning, in which leading characters are ignored by somebody and do not realize that they are dead until the final moment. In The Tale of the Dream Girl, a brother discovers that only his sister can see him and she ultimately shows him his own obituary.
While circling a passage in the notes, Bruce Willis does so with his right hand. Willis is actually left-handed; he learned how to write right-handed so that viewers wouldn't notice that his wedding band was no longer on his hand. Willis also draws the circle clockwise (like a left-handed person would), while most right-handed people would draw it counter-clockwise.
When Cole and Malcolm are entering Kyra's bedroom at her wake, Malcolm is standing directly behind Cole; however, when the camera cuts to the shadows on the floor as the door opens, we only see Cole's shadow. Another clue that Malcolm is actually dead. Also, on the doorknob, we can see the reflection of Cole's face but not Malcolm's face (although we probably can see his body).
The soundtrack release of the movie gives away the ending. The final song on the CD is titled "Malcolm is Dead."
Throughout the movie, Malcolm never moves any objects, and he does not interact with anyone but Cole. For example, he never opens a door, the chair he sits in in the restaurant with his wife is already pulled out and when he reaches for the cheque, his wife just beats him to it.