As movie fate would have it, Cole and Malcolm arrive at the house after the funeral for the girl. Her grieving family has gathered at the home to mourn and grieve, but Cole finds his way to the dead girl’s bedroom — only to get a big scare when she reaches out from under the bed. Haley Joel Osment’s performance was much praised at the time, and it holds up incredibly well — he’s really great in the movie, fully embodying his character’s trauma. This scene, in particular, has Osment doing wonderful work selling how scared Cole is. Yes, he’s on a mission to hopefully help both himself and this ghost, but he’s still terrified since he’s dealing with the supernatural. 

It’s a jump scare moment, and while jump scares can be cheap, Shyamalan does a great job here making it work. For one thing, the jump scare isn’t cheap — it isn’t some cat jumping out to scare Cole. It’s a real friggin’ ghost! And she looks creepy! 

The dead girl hands Cole a VHS tape which leads to something disturbing: it turns out the ghost was poisoned to death by her mother, and it’s heavily implied the mother is starting to poison the dead girl’s sister, too. Luckily, Cole gives the tape to the girl’s father, cracking open the case and revealing the mother (who, in true nightmare fashion, is wearing bright red to her daughter’s funeral) for the monster that she is, a monster scarier than any ghost.