a critiQal film review Signs (2002)

Plot: A recently widowed pastor who's lost his faith (Gibson), his two kids and his brother Merrill (Phoenix), are trying to get on with their lives when they discover strange patterns in their crop field. At first, they believe it's just a hoax. But, as events progress, they begin to believe it might be something more.

379 words (Est. Reading Time 1m 53s)
  • ...Shyamalan's most unoriginal movie to date.

After M. Night Shyamalan’s astonishing directorial debut with The Sixth Sense (1999), he came out with the quirky Unbreakable, which, while not as good, was still oddly entertaining. Then came Signs. Would it live up to the first film, or would it continue the downward trend?

Mel Gibson, usually worth watching, seemed to tap more into his sappy side for this film. While it showcases that he is able to portray a sappier character, it doesn’t seem to be as entertaining. Take a look back in his career. Usually he has that hard edge to him in most of his successful films. When he gets rid of that edge, it make him seem a little too wishy-washy.

Joaquin, whose never been on a list of good actors on this site, continues to cry his way through yet another film. He never really acts in any film, he just reacts, and it gets old…real quick.

The plot tried taking an old story and tried personalizing it for one man. They had to throw in the whole religion issue since, with the success of Frailty (2002), Stigmata, and even End of Days (1999), that has seemed to become a new pressure point for the viewing public.

Night, known for his new and interesting plots, makes a disappointing third effort here. There should be a disclaimer at the beginning stating that they don’t want to get sued for ripping off previous films of the genre. It seems he, like most directors after large commercial success, has been pressured into pumping out film after film, and the quality has started to suffer. It’s unfortunate.

The special effects were mostly cheesy in Signs. There aren’t many, as Night likes to have the action happen just off-camera. This makes for a much lower budget usually, since they can spend the extra cash on a few special effects, rather then showing hokey effects twice as much. Unfortunately, they must have spent the extra cash on getting Mel Gibson for the film, as the few special effects were not very impressive. C’mon, Night…we know you can do so much better.

Signs is definitely Night’s most unoriginal movie to date. It’s somewhat interesting to watch, but it’s definitely not up to the high standards M. Night should be working towards.

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