In 2002, when Signs was released, my family and I were vacationing in Ohio, doing the whole amusement park thing. We're a cinema loving family and always check out a movie while out of the state, so we decided to check out Signs. My mom, at the time, was a big Mel Gibson fan and it was the hot movie of the summer so we were pretty excited to see it. As always, spoilers ahead.
It's almost difficult for me to watch this movie, simply because its director M. Night Shyamalan has become such a punchline in the movie world and Mel Gibson has seemingly gone off the deep end. Night likes to think he's a modern day Alfred Hitchcock, which he really isn't. And is it possible for Mel Gibson to not have a role centered around religion? If I manage to sit down and just watch the movie and keep those influences off my mind, I can enjoy it.
It's a pretty standard alien invasion movie with a small family living on a farm getting crop circles in their fields. Mel Gibson plays Graham, the father of the family who gave up his faith and stopped being a reverend when his wife was killed. He has two children, Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin) and lives with his little brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix.) I have this odd appreciation for Phoenix, for some reason, I very much enjoy his work so him being in it definitely helps. Him and Abigail Breslin are the standouts for me. The entire film, you see Graham struggling to shed away his faith that he no longer has while dealing with a family all on his own, trying to accept the fact that his wife is no longer with them. It's a movie based on a lot of bumps and thuds, as the Night hopes your imagination runs wild. As always with a M. Night Shyamalan movie, you have a tweest ending when it is revealed that the aliens are killed by water, leading to a nice and happy ending where everyone lives and Graham has found his faith again. Seriously, all it needed was a bow on top.
I will admit, when I first saw this movie at the age of 11, I was pretty fucked up by it. I was always the type of kid who had a rampant imagination and was terrified by monsters and aliens. I would have vivid nightmares that kept me up all night and Signs did nothing to help that. Scenes that stood out to me were when Graham chops off an alien's fingers when its trapped in a pantry and can't get out and when the alien is first seen outside Bo's window. What really messed with me was when they showed the full profile of the alien on the news with the Brazilian footage. It was all very creepy to me, any time the alien was shown, it stuck with me. I went to bed that night in our hotel and had a nightmare about aliens instantly that I still remember to this day. The score for this movie is one of its top draws for me. The music is suspenseful and done damn near perfectly. It doesn't sound generic, definitely has a unique feel to it.
It's an easy movie to mock though, seeing as how everything works out so well for our heroes. You have these incredibly advanced and intelligent beings traveling light-years to invade Earth and yet, they can't open a fucking door? They can build intricately detailed and impressive spaceships but a pantry door will be the death of them? We can also scoff at the fact that they traveled so far to invade a place that is 70% made up of a substance that is poisonous to them. It's just all too neat and tidy for my taste.
The DVD has a pretty generous documentary about the film itself that I'm sure someone who was a bigger fan than me would enjoy, but I didn't get much out of listening to M. Night and Mel Gibson talking about how awesome they are. The deleted scenes are whatever, I much prefer it when a DVD has an extended version, rather than deleted scenes placed individually in the bonus features. There is some random short clip of M. Night's first alien movie he ever made, I'm assuming when he was young. It makes for a good laugh for its awful cheesiness, I suppose.
My Rating - 6/10