As I suspected, the twist at the end cannot really stand up to a
great deal of scrutiny on a second viewing. But having said that,
it was still a great movie.
It was creepy, spooky, and wonderfully directed. The mood
was set for a great thriller. Cole started off just being a strange
kid, but got stranger and stranger as the movie went on. Finally,
when he admitted that he saw "dead people", things started to get really
creepy, as we got to see them, too.
So really, the movie comes in two parts. First is the mystery
of what is wrong with Cole. Coupled with the question of how Malcolm's
life got so screwed up after he was shot, this provides some very entertaining
drama. The cupboards and drawers, as well as the scratches on Cole's
arms, are secondary until he reveals his secret. Then, even though
Malcolm doesn't believe him, we certainly do.
Second, is figuring out how to help the both of them. Cole
is easy, but he fears to do it. But he overcomes his fears, and helps
the little girl, and goes to her funeral. After that, it's easier
for him to start communicating with his mom. Where I thought on the
first viewing that there was no closure for Cole's story, I take it back.
Just opening the lines of communication is the beginning of the healing
process, and so it closes quite nicely. Malcolm is more difficult,
but Cole figures out how he could start communicating with his wife, too.
Once he discovers that he should help the ghosts, that solution is easy
MAJOR SPOILER BELOW
Malcolm's fate is saved by the statement, "they only see what
they want to see". In other words, although his wife ignores him
all the time, or speaks to him cryptically, he can accept this. But
aside from that, everything seems normal in his life.
But how did he fabricate surviving the gun shot? Did he
imagine himself coming out of the hospital, instead of the sheet going
over his head? Or is that a blank in his mind?
It's also unclear whether ghosts actually move things around,
or if they just imagine they move things. Obviously, Cole's grandmother
moves the bumblebee pendant. But does she wait for Cole's mother
to leave the house to do it? If so, it would imply that she realizes
that she is dead.
But Malcolm can obviously feed himself, dress himself, and open
all sorts of doors. Does his wife notice these doors suddenly opening,
or is it all in his imagination? He couldn't open the door to that
room (what was in there, anyway?), but he could open other doors.
Did his wife notice the high volume on the tape recorder in the
basement? He couldn't have heard the recording session, or learned
Latin, without actually using the tape recorder or the dictionary.
It seems that she would have noticed something.
Presumably, he also goes to the store, and would end up interacting
with people. But that one can be explained by having his wife do
everything, since he was so wrapped up in his case.
Finally, how did he get Cole's case to begin with? I guess
that one could be considered Divine intervention. Did he knock on
the door to get Cole's mother to let him in near the beginning? I
think he would have introduced himself. And to whom did he plan to
transfer Cole when he decided to give up the case?
Anyway, despite these nagging questions, I still loved the movie.
Even ignoring the twist ending, even if Malcolm was alive, it would have
been a very chilling, interesting, and very strong drama. I still
have to give it top marks.