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SIGNS

Reviewed by: Max - SimplyScripts Reviewer

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Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Mel Gibson as Graham
Joaquin Phoenix as Merrill
Rory Culkin as Morgan

Grade: A

Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan's streak continues. He's made three great films in a row. "The Sixth Sense" starring Bruce Willis as a Psychologist of a young boy that sees dead people and "Unbreakable," also starring Bruce Willis about a super-human strength man.

Now he comes out with "Signs." A film about a man (Mel Gibson) whose wife dies in a car crash and he loses faith. His brother (Joaquin Phoenix) comes out to live with him and his two children. Then one morning the family wakes up to having a crop circle in their crops. Then several things all over the world make it possible that an alien invasion is coming.

The "master of suspense" gives us another freaky nail-biter. He plunges us into the lives of a family during an alien invasion. The good thing I like is that it gave nothing away in the trailer. Like, "Is it really aliens," or, "What was the thing behind the pantry door? Was it an alien?" This film doesn't belong in a certain category. It's thriller, drama, and comedy all in one. I laughed, I cried, I jumped up at scary moments. This is one of those films that give you everything...and then some more.

This similar plot has been tried in tons of other films. But nothing like "Signs" has ever been made. "Signs" caught the terror and real reactions that films like "Independence Day" has not been able to achieve.

And then there's the climactic ending. Another thing M. Night Shyamalan's good with. In all of his films we get a ending that actually makes us leave the theatre saying to ourselves, "What the...?"

Mel Gibson proves to us once more that he's an excellent actor. I really believed he was a man suffering from his wife's death and trying to keep his family together while all the bad things occurring in their life. I really like Joaquin Phoenix. I like him in every film he's been in. He takes a little turn from his regular parts and transforms into a young man trying to keep his older brother sane. Rory Culkin is the comedic relief to the film. He brought the audience happiness and laughter while we were watching this family go through a living hell. I really like him. I hope he doesn't turn into what McCauley Culkin did when he grew up. And last but not least, Abigail Breslin. Little sister of the annoying kid from "The Kid." But this little girl wasn't annoying at all. She is an unbelievably adoring little girl. She did a great job and gave another reason for wanting this family to live through the horrible battle. I really loved the weird bond between the brother and sister. It was really believable.

Having saying all the good things in the film, I've got to say a couple of bad things about the film...but these things don't effect the perfect rating. I really, really wanted to see what was happening in the outside world. But then I realized that the film was about this family...not the whole entire world. Another thing is the ending. Was it "totally surprising" like his other films? No. But I still thought it worked perfectly with the film.

It isn't your average film. Not one of those "Blood pumping through the whole film" kind of movies but it was a whole different take on what an alien invasion would look like. You will get freaked out (especially the birthday party video tape!). And as for the violence and gore, this film has none. None was needed and none was given. Only few films of this type can pull that off.

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copyright (c) 2003, Max Colston, Used with Permission

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