In Signs we have a widower who used to be a reverend, but after his wife was killed in a car crash he had a crisis of faith and quit. He, his two children and his younger brother live on a farm where crop circles are starting to turn up- we then find out that these circles are cropping up (sorry, couldn’t resist) all over the world. Guess what? They’re the navigation signs of aliens who are invading.
M. Night Shyamalan has a thing for putting twists in at the end of his films. The twist of this one was that the aliens are affected by water in the way we are affected by highly concentrated acid. Really? How stupid were these things? You know how this planet is 70% water? You know our atmosphere contains a lot of the stuff? “I know, water melts my skin but I think I’ll invade this planet coated in the shit naked! This plan cannot fail!!” If it wasn’t for that and the aliens being stopped by something as simple as a wooden door (yes. These are the terrible monsters we have to fear), I think I’d find this film scarier and I’d understand more why it was critically acclaimed (by some people). Also, the heavy ‘God always has a reason for everything!!’ symbolism got on my nerves. I think it was because I felt that killing the guy’s wife was kind of unnecessary to get the message across that we have at the end.
I liked that there wasn’t a heavy soundtrack for this film. The setting of a quiet small-town farm worked so much better without much background noise, and it also made it seem like you were in those fields when they were searching through the crops at night. All you heard were nightime sounds, and the noise of Mel Gibson and the unseen creature going through those fields.
So my overall opinion of Signs? ….Meh. It’s got some good moments. I liked the tension that was built out in those fields, I liked the way you first saw the alien (though I thought out in the fields was scarier) but it wasn’t anything particularly special. I’m not sure it deserved to be on a 100 scariest movie moments list, but I guess that’s my opinion. The sysmbolism was too heavy in a clichéd and clumsy way (God works in mysterious ways… c’mon, how many times have we heard that one?), the aliens were stupid to the point that my suspension of disbelief couldn’t quite make it at that ending. It’s worth a watch if you feel like sticking something on and filling up an as yet empty evening. You might like it, you might laugh at it or you might find it boring. I doubt I’ll be watching it again any time soon.