Review: Signs (2002)

Yep, that’s right, from now on we’re starting and ending with gifs, probably related to one another, for as long as I can keep it up. By the way, gif should be pronounced with a hard “g,” as in guy, because when I pronounce it jif, I just think of this:

Sorry, sorry, we’ve divulged already, what was I supposed to be talking about again? Uh-huh. Hmmm. I see. Okay, so I’m supposed to be writing about Signs. Just about a week-ish ago, I watched Signs. And boy, oh boy, did I like it. Signs is great. I love Signs. If you don’t like Signs, you might as well leave now, as I’m an idiot and nothing I will say could possibly change your mind. But, if you’d like to stay, who am I to tell you no?

Signs is a 2002 suspense thriller, and is the fourth film directed by M. Night Shyamalan, though it is only one of 3 of his that are worth talking about. Well, 4. The Happening is hilarious.

Anyways, Signs stars Mel Gibson (in his last film role worth talking about, you know, ’cause he’s nuts), Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin, and one of the Culkin brothers. Wait, let me check…it’s Rory Culkin. Doesn’t really matter. They all look the same, anyways.

They all have this same sort of creepy vibe…I like to call it “Joker Face.”

Signs is fantastic. Well, it’s fantastic insofar as M. Night accomplishes exactly what he set out to do: create a well-crafted, edge-of-your-seat, well-acted thrill ride that never lets up. There’s never a dull moment in the 107 minute runtime, and I’d say that’s an accomplishment. The characters are intriguing, their interactions fascinating. The dialogue is captivating, not in a Tarantino way where everything that’s being said is a monologue that says deep things in new ways relatable to the average film geek, nor in a Nolan way, where the monologues are speeches about deeper meanings delivered by archetypes who embody aspects of humanity, and not even in a Wachowski way, where upper-level philosophy is spoken in the layman’s terms. No, the characters feel like real people saying real things in real conversations, how the ordinary would react to the extraordinary. And it’s absolutely captivating. I couldn’t wait to hear what the characters had to say next.

And speaking of the characters, wow, are the performances great. Mel Gibson is spectacular in what I consider to be his best role, and Joaquin Phoenix’s Merrill provides a perfect contrast to Gibson’s Graham. The child performances, too, are stand-out, some of the best I’ve seen in a mainstream American film, up there with the ranks of River Phoenix, Haley Joel Osment, and Home Alone-era Macaulay Culkin. Both Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin are fantastic, and a certain line spoken by Breslin is particularly stand-out.

There’s very little to complain of in Signs, the perspective of the alien invasion is unique; while most films focus on the world’s reaction, this film elects to stay with a small town, more specifically, with just one family, as they are progressively cut off more and more from the outside world, leaving them alone to fend for themselves. And that’s where the complaints come in. “Why can’t the aliens open up locked doors?” Excuse me, have you ever tried to open a locked door? It’s not easy. Even just bashing the doorknob out of a ruined door to salvage it for firewood isn’t easy with the usage of a hammer. I know, I’ve done it. And the aliens aren’t much bigger or stronger than humans, they, in fact, seem to be taller, more lithe, lighter, faster and more agile. And then the bigger complaint comes in. “Why are the aliens naked when their weakness is water?” Well, there are several answers to that, like, at least 2:

  1. The aliens are a preliminary scout team, they’re not equipped for full-on invasion, and are trying to avoid that to prevent humans from pulling an ID4 and using nukes. They want the earth to not be destroyed, thank you very much.
  2. It’s entirely likely that the aliens don’t know that water is acidic to them up until it touches them. Superman didn’t know Kryptonite was deadly to him until he touched it. Just sayin’.

Okay, we good? Yeah, I think we are.

Signs is incredible, and has become one of my favorite films, possibly even eclipsing The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, which means it gets a definite A+.

a plus grade

So, yeah, I hold a rather not-quite-so-popular opinion on the Internet.

But, anyways, thanks for reading my odd ramblings, and I hope that you (at least somewhat) enjoyed yourself. Remember to laugh, smile, and, whatever you do, do not say “libeary” instead of “library.” Or “matoor” instead of “muhtchur” for mature. Or, obviously, “sherbert” instead of “sherbet.”

Quick announcement before we wrap things up: In October, on the alternating weeks when I’m not doing a Bond-themed post, I’ll be talkin’ horror, and nothin’ but. So, if you like horror, or are simply a sadist who wants me to be scared, then you can look forward to that. Back to my uninteresting close-out.

I guess that it is time for me to be wrapping things up, so I just want to thank you guys once again, and good-bye.

24 Comments Add yours

  1. Wendell says:

    I hate this movie. Read the whole post, anyway. Still hate it, but this is a fun post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s okay, thanks a lot for reading anyways! *amiable fist bump*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. swanpride says:

    I hate this movie…but not for the alien stuff. Nope, I am totally fine with it (even though I would have preferred “there are no aliens after all, it was all mass hysteria” as twist). No, what I hate is the “the dying wife’s last words lead to her brother grabbing the baseball bat”. I mean…really? Why should someone even need the incentive to grab the next weapon and use it? The whole religious angle (not that it is there, but the way it is executed) annoys me to no end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. emmakwall says:

      I never saw any religious angles in this film. Like, at all! But it’s cool we all have different interpretations 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. swanpride says:

        What? The whole movie is about the main character finding his believe again. That is more or less the main theme…and it is so badly executed.


      2. emmakwall says:

        Lol okay I forgot he was a ex vicar or whatever, I haven’t seen it for a while. I just didnt remember being inundated by ‘religion’ in the movie, spiritual faith perhaps but no actual religion. My apologies. Having said that I love the film and think it’d executed brilliantly, it’s very emotional. I wanna watch it again now!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I would say yes, go watch it, it’s a great viewing experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. emmakwall says:

        I will do Mr Critic!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That’s Mr. Critic, sir, to you! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. emmakwall says:

        Sorry Mr. Critic, sir!

        🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. At ease, soldier. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      8. emmakwall says:

        Yay! Beer and bread in the mess hall, sarge?


      9. emmakwall says:

        Do you want me to mess with your lights?

        Sorry 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Come on, every time? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      11. emmakwall says:

        I can’t help myself!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


    2. Yeah, the “destiny” ending is odd, but it works for me, at least, mostly because of how well the rest of the movie works.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. emmakwall says:

    You’re so funny I love your style of writing 🙂

    Happy to report I also loved this film
    Haven’t seen it in a while but found it captivating. Honestly. The ‘Mel shovelling mashed potatoes’ scene is kinda heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dang, forgot to mention that scene! It’s the best, probably my favorite in the entire movie.
      And thanks, I do try to write well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. emmakwall says:

    P.S meant to say I also loved the way the story was contained to one family home rather than Will Smith in Independence Day type stuff 🙂 it’s quite an emotional story really, as well as creepy etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to see something different. Quite creepy, indeed.


  5. Jay says:

    Man, I haven’t seen this since it came out. I mostly just remember the hats. And the water. That was rather baptismal, wasn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I suppose it was, if by baptismal you mean acidic. 😉
      And those hats are hilarious!


  6. Signs is a polarizing experience with excellent build up and atmosphere, but with ridiculous twist and disappointing second half.


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