By Merle Bertrand | June 13, 2000

Man, oh, man. Talk about building an entire movie around one joke. And it’s a pun, at that! Normally, that’s an unforgivable sin, but Richard Ferrando’s take-off/tribute to last year’s other smash horror film, “The Sixth SENSE,” is decent enough to let this affront slide.
Sixteen year old Cole Taylor (Josh Raab) smells dead people, hence this short’s title. That is to say, he claims he smells dead people. Yet, the one time he mentions this to psychologist Dr. Ian Malcolm (played a little too low-key by Brad J. Tarratt), is the only time it ever comes up in this entire video. Apparently, it’s mentioned just to enable Ferrando to get away with the title and get on with paying loving tribute to M. Night Shyamalan’s chilling feature. This, he does fairly well, as Dr. Malcolm explores the possible reasons his young patient is experiencing his terrifying visions. At the same time, the good doctor grapples with a failing marriage to his attractive but aloof wife Olivia (Mary Hornbacher). As Dr. Malcolm delves deeper and deeper into Cole’s troubled life and state of mind, the investigation begins to shed an unexpected light on his own troubled existence.
“The Sixth Scent” is a surprisingly well made video short; good enough to where it would have been worth it to shoot it on film. Since I’m one of about six people who never saw the feature film, it’s impossible for me to determine which aspects of this film worked well on their own account as opposed to working well because they were stylistically lifted from this film’s feature parent. Either way, “The Sixth Scent” is a solid, even creepy piece of work in its own right.

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