Directed by Tom Shadyac, starring Kevin Costner, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Linda Hunt, Susanna Thompson, Jacob Vargas and Kathy Bates.

'The Sixth Sense' has a lot to account for. M Night Shyamalan's over-rated 1999 chiller is single-handedly responsible for re-energising Bruce Willis' career, introducing the world to the annoying Haley Joel Osment, and providing ample fodder for subsequent spoofs.

It even seems to have convinced an erstwhile comedy director to step into the psychological thriller domain. Tom Shadyac made his mark with the likes of 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective', 'The Nutty Professor' and 'Liar Liar'. Unfortunately for him, 'Dragonfly' is a poor attempt to steal M Night's considerable wind.

Kevin Costner, a sponge for critics' vitriol in recent years, plays Dr Joe Darrow, head of emergency services in a Chicago hospital. An expert in the field of trauma and sudden personal shock, Joe's professional acumen comes into sharp focus after the death of his wife Emily, a fellow doctor, on a medical mission to Venezeula. Agonised by the fact that he had cautioned against the mission, Darrow's demons intensify as his mind imagines the horror of his wife's final moments before her bus is swept away in a landslide.

Six months later, things are no better. His numbed grief exacerbated by the fact that Emily's body has not been discovered, Darrow becomes an emotional cripple as he works round the clock to shut out the pain. So just as his friends and colleagues, not to mention the audience, wearies of his increasingly erratic behaviour, 'Dragonfly' tries to gather momentum by dipping into the box of tricks marked 'Shyamalan'.

Household objects begin to move of their own accord, children that Emily used to treat begin to speak of seeing her during their near-death experiences, while an abstract shape takes on increasing significance as Joe convinces himself that his wife is trying to contact him from beyond. But Shadyac stupidly opts to warm as opposed to chill the heart, and the film goes into sugar overdrive in the final twenty minutes. If that wasn't enough, the contrast between the inherent 'good' of the Venezuelan jungle and the 'evil' urban malaise of modern American life is drawn without a modicum of subtlety.

Ultimately, 'Dragonfly' is a tepid shambles of poor pacing, poor direction, uneven scripting and uninspired acting. And with Shyamalan's new movie on the way, things could get worse before they get better. Truly, he has unleashed a monster.

Tom Grealis