“I see dead people.” It’s been thirteen years since Haley Joel Osment’s character uttered the famous line for the very first time. For this occasion of sorts, I decided to take my camera out on a hunt for some of the Philadelphia filming locations used in M. Night Shyamalan’s creepy classic.
When I was re-watching The Sixth Sense this time around, I decided to pay particular attention to the way the movie is shot and to the play of light and shadows. Both of these aspects are in part responsible for making The Sixth Sense as suspenseful as it is. The smooth transitions between the shots and the way the camera lingers on objects set the tone and the unhurried pace of the story. The setting, as mundane as it may seem, only contributes to the uneasiness, it grounds all the supernatural, making it all the more believable and frightening.
The first place we see in the movie is Malcolm Crowe’s house – its cellar to be precise. The first shot immediately catches attention, fading in on the electric bulb. The contrast between light and darkness is established right away and it resurfaces throughout the whole movie. Malcolm’s house, with a Locust Street address in the movie, was actually filmed on Delancey street.
The restaurant where Malcolm is supposed to meet his wife for their anniversary was shot at Striped Bass on Walnut street (it is now closed).
The house where Cole and his mother live was filmed at St. Alban’s Place.
The church that Cole goes to was filmed at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church.
After all these years, The Sixth Sense is just as quietly chilling, with Philadelphia providing an unobtrusive yet atmospheric backdrop.