movie review: SIGNS
by David Blackwell
SIGNS does look like an interesting movie from the previews of it. All the previews tell you is there are
crop circles , aliens, and a family. I have watched SIGNS, the latest from M. Night Shyamalan and Im frustrated with some
things in this movie is which is creepy. Of course, the previews dont tell you the movie is like WAR OF THE WORLDS meets NIGHT
OF LIVING DEAD except the people in the house are waiting out the aliens (instead of the brain eating dead). The director
does a good job building mood and suspense. He even plants paranoia in your head. It all starts with Graham Hess (Mel Gibson)
waking up during the day. He lives on a farm in rural Pennsylvania with his two kids and his young brother Merrill (Joaquin
Phoenix). Hess has quit being a preacher six months ago because he blames God for the accident which killed his wife. Anyway,
Graham wakes up during the day and he is drawn outside to his cornfield. Merrill comes out at the same time. They both go
out into the corn field and find some of the crops flattened out in the form of crop circles. Graham thinks it is some type
of prankster at work, but of course nothing is that simple in a Shyamalan movie.
The movie builds the creepiness through the movies slow pace. You have a guy who has lost faith and doesnt
want people calling him Father anymore because he isnt a preacher anymore. TV news reports show numerous crop circles popping
up around the world in the last few days and then there is footage of mysterious lights hanging over cities around the world.
Then there is the daytime footage I wont spoil for you here. The second part of the movie shows how Graham and his family
deal with what may be an impending invasion by aliens. This is where I become a little frustrated with a movie. I know some
people will do what this family does, but I just wonder why dont they bring some tools from the garage like shovels and such
to defend themselves if the aliens come crawling into their house? Instead they board themselves in and hope the aliens dont
get in! I just for once would like to see someone with a weapon or two! If this movie took place in the Northwest United Sates
or any place where one person in the family is a hunter, you would see someone have guns waiting for hostile aliens! What
we see is a family struck with fear who dont have reasonable weapons! I know I would be afraid, but I would have some weapons.
SIGNS just drives me a little crazy. It has the right mood and creepiness. It is better than THE SIXTH SENSE which just tends
to be boring after the first viewing, but I would have done some things differently if there was an alien invasion. Now Im
hoping someone will make WAR OF THE WORLDS meets THE EVIL DEAD because at least someone like Bruce Campbell had weapons and
planned to fight back even if he was scared of whats out there! Of course, the director does some cheap tricks like focusing
on a dropped flashlight instead of showing of what is happening. I rather see what happening in that one scene. Mel Gibson
is great in this movie. Could this movie been done on a small budget? Yes. It is a small personal drama about how a family
reacts to the things happening while one man must learn to regain his faith.
Some can sit helpless in fear, but I hope I would act against the unknown despite fear. SIGNS is a good movie
on some levels, but I'm just left a little frustrated by it.
this review is (c)7-2002 David Blackwell and this review can't be reprinted without the author's permission.