Director M. Night Shyamalan and his god can lick my balls. Watching this film was like unwrapping a pretty package to find a box filled with vomit. Shyamalan appears to be under the impression that if the package is pretty enough, I won't mind the fact that I'm getting vomit for a gift. Personally, I don't want to spend my time opening the present and admiring the wrapping. Just barf on me. At least it's over quickly.
While trailers make "Signs" out to be a suspense-filled story about alien invasion, it's really just a ploy to beat us over the head with Shyamalan's faith-based film initiative. You see, former reverend Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) discovers that things happen for a reason and that faith is really important. It saves his life and his family's life.
Unfortunately, in the process of this alien invasion, Hess's brother, Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), states flatly that many people are killed. To me, this is the fatal flaw in this whole faith con job. Oh, it's so wonderful that Graham saves the day for his two children, Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin), but what about the entire family of Quakers who got to watch their children force-fed their own eyeballs? What about the Hindus who were set on fire? What about the seemingly endless number of other Christians who died, but whose faith didn't do them one iota of good? If I've come to one conclusion about God while I've been on this Earth it's this: He hates people who live in mobile homes. That's why the tornadoes always hit them.
And boy does Shyamalan set us up. There isn't a cliché he doesn't pour from his jug of holy water. Graham is no longer a reverend because his wife died in a horrible car accident. Naturally, he immediately drops his faith and becomes an ex-reverend. His two kids are so perfectly melodramatic I wanted to puke. Bo is the cutest thing on the Earth and seems both insanely smart and somewhat psychic. Morgan has asthma, so naturally Shyamalan forces us to wait around for that predictable moment where they forget his medicine. Didn't David Fincher pull exactly this same stunt in "Panic Room"? It's not tense enough that kid-eating aliens are invading, so let's give one of the kids asthma so his panic will be that much more grating.
Hess gives a really insidious speech in the middle of the film. He says something along the lines of: There are two kinds of people in the world, those who see the unknown and feel hope and those who see the unknown and feel fear. The ones who feel hope are the religious people and the ones who feel fear are the secular people. Remember, Shyamalanadingdong wrote that. His theology is about as complicated as checkers. Ultimately, his movie is as insulting to those who don't believe as those who do.
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