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Signs
A Pennsylvania farmer (Mel Gibson) searches for the truth behind the mysterious appearance of 500-foot circles and lines carved into his crops.

Starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Showalter...  View more >

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Reviews Summary


Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Aug 2, 2002
Shayamalan is a director that just keeps on giving. After two low-key movies in "6th Sense" and "Unbreakable," Shayamalan gives us another quietly creepy movie.

Action sequences? There aren't any by today's standards. The movie generates tension through its well-drawn characters and weird occurences. Clicky noises coming from the cornfields, strange sounds from a baby moniter, and a shadow under the pantry door grab our interest here, not explosions and CGI effects.

In one particular scene, Joaquin Phoenix throws a rock into the cornfield and turns to walk into the house. To give you an idea of the kind of scares that are in this movie, I was expecting it to hit him in the back as he walked up the porch steps.

Shayamalan spends the first hour of the movie giving us characters we can care about and building up some tension, then the climactic sequences hit and the audience is terrified. Why? Because they've grown so attched to Shayamalan's characters that they don't want anything bad to happen to them.

Unlike "Unbreakable" and "6th Sense," Shayamalan doesn't throw a big twist ending at us in this one. He does take a few clues scattered throughout the movie and use them in such an effective way in the climax that it seemed like a huge revelation, which was very cool.

My advice? Go see it. If you scare easy, go see it and bring something to cover your eyes with.

Now I'd like to see what brilliant Mr. Shayamalan would do with a big-budget epic. . .
Aug 3, 2002
While I didn't feel the need to cover my eyes, or scream like a small child, I did like the movie. It was well done and kept your attention.
Aug 3, 2002
Similar in pace, feel, and tone to Sixth Sense and Untouchable.

A couple of plot holes, but I think the film is better viewed with a group, rather than at home.
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Aug 3, 2002
Director M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense) does it again! His work here rivals Hitchcock and Romero. This movie picks up where Chris Carters' "X-Files" never really goes. Only this time there are no FBI investigators to help figure things out, just fear and suspense waiting for the story to unfold itself.

To say anything about this movie would spoil it. We are given a very small main cast of 4 people; Mel Gibson (Father Graham Hess), Joaquin Phoenix (Merrill Hess) Rory Culkin (Morgan Hess) and Abigail Breslin (Bo Hess) all of which deliver an awesome performance. With literally no other supporting cast, besides Cherry Jones (the local police officer), we are held captive in our seats wondering what is really going on with these strange crop circles.

To compare this movie to any other with similar story lines (Night of the Living Dead, War of the Worlds, Evil Dead...) wouldn't do Shyamalan any justice. While I agree with some reviews I have read on Signs explaining that the movie had a subplot about a mans (Graham Hess) struggle with spirituality and strayed from the real story, I totally disagree that it was "confusing" and "not worthy of admission".

If you are out to see an X-files like movie or Roswell-Area-51 mystery, see something else. Signs may have been marketed as somthing like that but it delivers well beyond that premise and requires some intellect to follow it.

I was told that the movie was "very melodramatic" at points and was only "pretty good". True about the drama but way off the mark with just pretty good. Shyamalan has that uniqueness of using intelligent dialogue and cinematography to capture our emotions and attention to deliver the script. There are no smoke and mirrors here, just like his other two well known works. When this movie was all done I was left sitting in my seat knowing it was Shyamalans' work. If you didnt like Sixth Sense ot Unbreakable, you may not like Signs either.

Definately see this movie if you are a Shyamalan or Mel Gibson fan! I loved it and my 14-year old daughter thought is was "the coolest"!
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Aug 4, 2002
This was a great movie. Very suspenseful. I covered my eyes a few times and the audience jumped several times. My mind didnt wander once, as it often does in movies that dont keep moving along. This one started out suspenseful right from the beginning and stayed that way. I prefer this kind of suspense over the blood and gore of slasher movies.

Mr. Shyamalan did a terrific job writing this movie (and producing and directing, and wasnt that him playing the veterinarian?). Kudos to him. All the little details throughout the movie made sense in the end and were pertinent. Everything was wrapped up in a neat little package.

Wonderful movie. And of course, Mel Gibson was awesome as usual.
[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Aug 6, 2002
This movie was terrible in my opinion. The acting was terrible, the script was terrible, and it was one of the most predictable movies I've ever seen in my life.

I was never surprised by any part of the movie. In some cases i was even able to say an actors line before they even said it. My advice, STAY AWAY!
[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Aug 7, 2002
Corn men travel thousands of parsecs across space in craft that have force fields and cloaking devices, apparently on a grocery shopping trip. And they forget to bring two essential items for this shopping trip, wet suits and guns. Also, they are apparently susceptible to being hit with baseball bats. They must have chosen rural America realizing that lots of people carry bats for protection in the city. Apparently they aren't afraid of all the shotguns in rural America. Alas, their shopping trip for those human delicacies goes awry when they run into a little girl who just won't finish her water. And this movie just doesn't hold any water either.

Save your money. Don't go, don't rent. Forget that Shyamalan made this movie. Maybe later on it can be deleted from his credits and he can be forgiven.
Aug 7, 2002
For anyone that has truly researched the UFO phenomena, this movie will be rather boring. I will say that I appreciate that M. Night did not take the prevailing opinion among many who are into ufology. I can just see so many bleeding heart New Age ufologists in an uproar over this one.

I thought the script, or the writing in general, was rather trite. Especially Grahams sofa discourse with his brother on miracles/religious belief. He sounded more like a college diletante than an educated former reverend.
Aug 7, 2002
"Signs" may either be 1) a 1971 hit song or 2) a thriller directed by M.Night Shyamatan who made "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable." I pick 2.

Mel Gibson played a priest who gave up his job after the death of his wife. He's looking for a miracle and he may have found it as he found strange crop messages in his field. "Signs" is a tense thriller as the family prepares for an alien invasion. "Signs" is "War of the World" on a personal level. The tense moments are there because the family knows that they are out there.

Recently on the cover of "Newsweek," Shyamatan is being compared to Steven Spielberg. I would rather have Shyamatan being compared to Alfred Hitchock. Like Shyamatan, Hitchcock can both scare and entertain people at the same time. Hitchcock never made a science fiction movie. If he had, this is what he'll come up with. The film is "Signs."
[--- Good ---]by  
Aug 13, 2002
Not a bad movie. It got better as it went along.

I do have one criticism; that being the pacing. The first hour dragged along very slowly. I do understand that there was a need to establish the story but I think sometimes that Shyamalan could use a better editor, because the dialogue went on way too long during certain scenes.

Despite the slow start the second hour of the movie shines at times very brightly. I've heard a lot of people complain about the ending but I really appreciated it. I've always been intrigued by hope and the struggle we as humanity have with hopelessness. Shyamalan's portrayal of a broken man who has lost all hope and has given up on all of his dreams is central to the story. How will Hess find hope again is the question?

Signs is not a horror movie nor is it a action flick. In my mind, the story is not really about aliens as much is it a story about a man and his running away from his faith.

Do I recommend the movie? Yes, but with a warning. It's not Independence day nor is it The Sixth Sense. It does have a few surprising moments but it's a different type of movie for Shyamalan. It could have been better and it could have been worse. It was good but nor brilliant.
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Aug 27, 2002
very scary!!
Aug 28, 2002
After a string of failures at the box office for Disney like Bad Company, Reign of Fire, and The Country Bears, Disney is hoping this will be a sign of better things to come. M. Night Shyamalan has been described as the next Spielberg after the surprising success of The Sixth Sense in 1999 and the cult following of the 2000 film, Unbreakable. Now that he has conquered ghosts and superheroes, he now goes after aliens. Will Signs bring back the same success or better of The Sixth Sense, which debuted in the same weekend in 1999, or will it show the decline of the director's success?

The story goes that a man by the name of Graham Hess, a former minister, has lost his faith after the death of his wife in a car accident. He soon finds that crop circles have appeared in his corn fields but dismisses them as pranks and nothing more. But soon the news from around the world shows the lights from alien space crafts and everything that we had feared about life from other worlds is coming true. An invasion by the life forms looks to happen and now Graham must find the faith within him which is the only way to save his family.

The story, which was written by M. Night Shyamalan himself, is nothing but pure majesty. The plot mixes humor in well needed places and for the first time this year, I was scared more during a movie then I had ever been before. And I loved every moment of it. The story doesn't seem long or too short which is a great rarity among the modern feature-length films.

Mel Gibson, who has starred in many great successful films like Braveheart, What Women Want and the Lethal Weapon series, is sure to have another huge hit with Signs. Gibson plays the role of Graham Hess down pat. He plays with so much emotion especially with the scene involving the last supper the family shares together before the alien invasion happens. The tears just stream from his eyes which made the scene just so perfect. The kids in the film were amazingly good. Some cute children will ruin a film but these kids played their roles perfectly making us laugh, cry and scared. Joaquin Phoenix has another great role after the success of Gladiator. You just cheer for him at the very end of the film, which I will not give away in this review. M. Night Shyamalan, who made a cameo appearance in The Sixth Sense, plays a much larger role in Signs and shows that his genius goes beyond directing and writing.

Overall, Signs spells another huge success for director M. Night Shyamalan and actor Mel Gibson. This is the best movie I have seen in 2002 and one of the best films ever made. The scariness and the emotions go way beyond that of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. The music was perfectly scored by James Newton Howard who also scored The Sixth Sense, Dinosaur, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The opening credit music set us up for the greatness to come and made the credits very interesting to listen to.

There are so many things to love about this film that any problems seem ridiculous. Though the ending to the film, which I will not give away, was a bit cheesy but that is what Shyamalan intended. The Sixth Sense delivered a surprise ending but Signs gives you what you should have expected but dismissed it for some surprise ending.

The movie is meant to make you think as a movie goer and it does that with excellent flare and style. Signs is sure to remain the top film of the year despite heavy competition from Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers later this year. Make sure you make it your duty to see this film. It would be a crime to miss it. You never know when life from other worlds may visit. You would like to be prepares, right? ;)

My Rating: ***** out of 5 (A Perfect Score)
Aug 30, 2002
Signs is a very good movie that is kind of scary at times, but mostly just suspenseful and jumpy. Mel Gibson as always plays his part very well, and the aliens are spectacular. Go see it and enjoy.
Jan 10, 2003
This movie definitely gets you thinking. As others have said, it is not a horror film nor a sci/fi one. It is one that makes you go "why" and "what if . . ."

I did have one tiny complaint with the movie . . .I think it may have been more effective if M. Night Shaylaman did not show the cause of the crop circles. It is more effective for the audience to wonder about the unknown than to show it to them. In fact, the less we know about the unknown, the more scary it really is.

Of course, I really enjoyed the underlying theme of this movie, and that is Graham's (Mel Gibson's) struggle with his faith. He has lost all belief since his wife died, but learns a valuable lesson by the end of the movie. To understand this lesson in its entirety, one should pay particular attention to things that are mentioned throughout the movie, as they prove to Graham that this lesson is crucial in the end.

All in all, another great result by M. Night Shaylaman and Mel Gibson as well.
Jul 31, 2003
I'm not a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan's style. The odd camera work and dialog that doesn't flow makes it very difficult to get through the first half of the movie, but when the action collapses to the house, things get more satisfying.

Except for these items and the random flashbacks to the traffic accident, this movie makes for a good ghost story. The last act in the house has all the elements necessary to make you look twice in the dark backyard, and hold your breath when you hear the floor upstairs creak a little bit. I have to admit, it had me a little spooked.

Watch this at home when it's pitch black outside and you should enjoy it!

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