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Signs (2002)

This time they really did come from outer space.

Directed by:

M Night Shyamalan

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 102 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

In ‘Signs’ Mel Gibson is Graham Hess, a farmer and family man living in Pennsylvania. He is also a pastor having serious doubts about his faith since the death of his wife in a car accident. Unexpectedly, an elaborate pattern of crop circles appears in his cornfield, which at first is thought to be a kids’ prank. However, large numbers of similar crop circles begin appearing all over the world, and speculation as to their origins increases. The appearance of the crop circles is soon followed by the arrival of alien ships. At first, their intentions are unclear, but it doesn’t take long to become apparent that an invasion is imminent.

This is very much a film of two halves. The first part is mostly psychological thriller, while the latter is good old-fashioned alien invasion horror. The flashback to the last conversation Graham had with his wife is awkwardly placed, interrupting the flow of action. The loss-of-faith subplot seems unnecessary and artificial. Few effects are used, and the film does not live up to the director’s previous work (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable). However, in spite of this the film still manages to be gripping throughout, and offers some genuinely scary moments, even though the aliens themselves are rarely seen. In particular, people who enjoy old-fashioned suspense-filled thrillers or horror films – those that rely more on lighting, environment, sounds and music than special effects – will find this film worth seeing.

It's Got: Some good scary moments and lots of suspense.

It Needs: A less obvious weapon against the aliens.

DVD Extras There’s a pleasing amount of information in the extras, and the multi-angle feature is interesting. The Making of Signs, Deleted scenes, Storyboard: multi-angle feature, Night’s First Alien Movie. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Summary

An odd movie, never quite one thing or another. However, it is gripping and so is well worth taking the time to watch for the thrills.

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