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Movie Review

Signs also known as “M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs,” “Señales,” “Signs - Zeichen,” “Знаки” (Russia), “Isaretler,” “Jelek,” “Signes,” “Znaci,” “Znaki”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some frightening moments.

Reviewed by: Ken James
STAFF WRITER

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Mystery Thriller Drama
Length:
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
2002
USA Release:
August 2, 2002
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures
Relevant Issues
Mel Gibson, Abigail Breslin and Joaquin Phoenix. Scene from Signs. Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures

loss of wife

difficulties of being a single father and widower

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

What about the Psalm 91 promises? (“…no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent…”) Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Bible

loss of faith

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer

When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer

INFALLIBILITY—How can the Bible be infallible if it is written by fallible humans? Answer

Answers to supposed Bible “contradictions” and puzzles

CHRISTIANITY—With so many denominations and religions, how can I decide which are true and which are false? Answer


crop circles

apocalypse

UFOs

Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life


What is the Occult? Answer

Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Answer

More about life after death

HELL—Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Creation SuperLibrary
See our Creation SuperLibrary
to learn more…

Featuring: Mel GibsonRev. Graham Hess
Joaquin PhoenixMerrill Hess
Rory Culkin … Morgan Hess
Abigail BreslinBo Hess
Cherry Jones … Officer Paski
M. Night ShyamalanRay Reddy
more »
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Producer: Touchstone Pictures
Blinding Edge Pictures
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Kathleen Kennedy … executive producer
Frank Marshall … producer
Sam Mercer … producer
M. Night Shyamalanproducer
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures

“It’s happening.”

Do the things in our lives happen merely by coincidence, or is there a grand plan—perhaps even divine—behind them? This is the main theme behind the pro-faith “Signs”, M. Nigh Shyamalan’s (“The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable”) 2002 thriller. Blending the perfect amount of humor and suspense, “Signs” features Mel Gibson playing the part of Graham Hess, a former Episcopalian priest and family man who has lost his faith in God after the 6-months-past death of his wife. Torn by anger at God for allowing his wife to die, Graham (still referred to as “Father” by most in his Bucks County, Pennsylvania community) continues in raising his two kids Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin) along with the help of his younger brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix).

As you may know by the title, the “signs” alluded to in this thriller is the paranormal crop circles that have baffled people for centuries. Appearing overnight in wheat, corn, or other fields around the world, these perfectly designed works of art are said to be either elaborate hoaxes or the work of alien beings from other planets. This is where real-life meets the movies. Crop circles are real, despite what you may believe about their origin. Hoaxters have come forward to show how they are created using “stomper boards” and simple surveyors equipment, yet this still doesn’t account for all of them. Frankly, it’s a mystery.

In “Signs”, Graham’s farm is visited by alien beings, as are hundreds of locations around the world. Not even the skeptics can deny that the aliens have landed. A good dose of jump scenes (about a dozen) keeps thrill seekers on the edge of their seat as the mystery unfolds around the Hess family. What do they want? Do they come in peace?

Graham may have been a priest, but after losing his faith in God his worldly brother Merrill has more faith than him. It really is hard to watch this once strong man banish prayer at the dinner table, and it starts to rip his family apart. Several very emotional family scenes work well to show us the sense of despair that Graham is experiencing. Yet the redemptive moral of this story unravels nicely, turning Graham back to a firm belief that God is real and His plan is sovereign.

Offensive material is minimum. There is no sex or nudity, though there is some instances of profanity, one even uttered by Graham’s son Morgan. An early scene, actually quite humorous, portrays profanity as an immoral thing. In that scene, Graham and Merrill are convinced that strange happenings at their farm are the work of local hoodlums. They cook up a plan to run around the house screaming profanities, trying to scare off the tresspassers. Graham, a former minister, doesn’t even know how to do it, so as he runs around he yells hilarious phrases while his brother seems a natural at it. In fact, the comedy in “Signs” always seems to hit the right marks. Just when the tension builds, a scene comes that lets ya chuckle.

Violence is relatively minimal: a dog is stabbed (all that is seen is a dead dog with a barbecue fork sticking out of it). There is also violence against an alien (pretty justifiable, I’d have to say).

“Signs” will give increasing awareness to aliens, as countless movies and books before have done. Just what is a “biblical Christian” position on such matters? Since the Bible is relatively silent, it’s hard to give an accurate teaching. So let’s look at what we do know. We know that there is a spiritual world out there that mostly goes unseen. A battle between good and evil, light and darkness, wages for the hearts and minds of men. The Bible also teaches about Satan, the great deceiver. There is just too much evidence out there to say that all of these occurances chalked up to E.T. are hoaxes. Wouldn’t it make sense that this alleged “alien” presence could be the work of demonic powers? When millions of Christians around the world vanish at the rapture (depending on your view of Daniel and Revelation in the Bible), wouldn’t it make sense that those remaining on Earth will immediately think it is the work of aliens?

Numerous Christian end-times productions (“Left Behind-The Movie,” the “Apocalypse” series, and others) take such a position. Cloud Ten Pictures’ recent video release “Deceived” starring Judd Nelson and Louis Gossett Jr. also comes up with a similar conclusion: we know something is happening, will those without the Spirit of God in them be deceived into believing it is communication from other planets?

If “Signs” is your style of movie, I recommend it. Fun, engaging, and sympathetic to the Christian faith, it’s a film that teens and their parents can enjoy together, even sparking great discussions on chance vs. providence, God’s will, why do bad things happen to good people, and other stimulating topics.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie was certainly entertaining. From the start it creates intensity, and suspense. It is a great mix of War of the Worlds and Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. The director weaves a perfect thriller, not showing the viewer too much, and leaves you wondering what the characters are seeing. It felt very Hitchcock type suspense. There was no blood/gore, there is a gross part with one of the dogs, but pretty tame. I only remember a couple times of swearing. No nudity, crude jokes or anything. It was difficult to see Mel Gibsons character go through his failing faith, but it was encouraging to see the end. But I do not want to give it away. Good for ages 13-14 years and up.
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Eric J, age 29
Positive—What could have been an exhausing journey into existential purgatory ended up being a great film for me. I really like this director’s work, and this film is no exception. The story surprised me many times, and I couldn’t predict the ending until the grand finale. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you any more than that—and don’t spoil this one for yourself by finding out what!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Mike Koger, age 41
Positive—An excellent movie—asking the question can a person of faith still believe and trust in God in spite of horrible and even evil events that take place in life? When Mel’s character questions his faith—because of the tragic loss of wife—he is angry, bitter and resentful and cannot believe that a loving God is watching over him. It is in the course of this movie when “signs” appear that he is able to return to his—encouraged by those cloud of witnesses around—his children, his brother and even memories of his deceased wife.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Rev. Dr. Dolores E. Littleton, age 47
PositiveM. Night Shyamalan proves with “Signs” that he’s the most spontaneously delightful filmmaker working today. This film, the best in his three thriller trilogy (“Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” “Signs”) is humorous but never corny, scary but never unwatchable, thrilling but never tiresome, and most importantly, it carries a great message about faith as redemption—even under cataclysmic circumstances. This was one of the best films of 2002.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Eric Schmidt
Positive—This was the best movie I have ever seen. I thought that the struggle Graham had with his faith was so well done. The movie made me scared in some places, laugh, and cry in others. The Christian message was so strong. I loved it!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Victoria, age 27
Positive—I thought this movie was awesome! It sends a great message and there is nothing really offensive in this movie at all. There are some scary parts for younger kids but otherwise its a MUST SEE MOVIE!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Cindy, age 22
Positive—I think the above review was very accurate about the biblical aspect of the film but it upsets me to read a review that blatantly gives away the end of the film just to make all Christians feel better about the main character having anger towards God. Anyone who has lost someone knows that feeling and it has never been shown so well on film. I urge the reviewer to allow the audience to experience that for themselves. All they really need to know is that it supports Christian beliefs.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Ryan Izay, age 20
Positive—This movie is the true definition of a “thriller”. It’s not gory, horrific, or disgusting. You won’t have to shield your eyes at anything bloody or gory. But, you will be scared. The commercials say “the most fun you’ll have being scared.” That pretty much sums it up. There are many parts you will laugh out loud; and many parts you will jump out of your seat. Regarding the fact that the main character was a former priest: it was encouraging to watch him struggle with doubt, but ultimately be led back to his faith. I left the theatre with a good feeling, as well as being exhausted from the tense scenes.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Dan, age 33
Positive—After seeing this movie, I left the theater with my friends and all we could say was “Wow.” I was blown away. We are so lucky to be seeing M. Night Shyamalan emerge as one of film’s great writer/directors. As with “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable”, the writing in “Signs” just seems to be perfect. At the climax, so many things come together to create an ending that is just genius. Shyamalan’s different direction style creates a whole lot of intense suspense. He balances this with the most surprising element of the movie: comedy that never misses. There are some scenes that will have you rolling in the aisles. By film’s end, there is also some wonderful spiritual stuff. Excellent movie, one of the best I’ve seen in a long while. Give Shyamalan major credit for another job very well done.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Britt Andrews, age 18
Positive—I have heard from some youth at my church who weren’t able to sleep all night after seeing this movie, becuase of being scared. So, I wouldn’t suggest it for anyone under 16, depending on maturity. I also loved how in this movie, you realize at the end how everything came together, and every little thing that happened took a part in the end to bring it all together. Christians watching it can see the amazing portrayal, through the whole movie, of Romans 8:28. God does not CAUSE everything that happens to happen, but he does ALLOW everything that happens to happen (look at Job). If, through a certain circumstance, God can draw us closer to Himself, and bring glory to His name, then He might allow that thing to happen. It’s our responsibility to know God enough to know that we can trust Him no matter what, in anything and everything that happens, because He is in control. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He loves us more than we can ever imagine, so we can trust Him no matter what! I loved seeing that through this movie. That might not have been the message they were trying to get across, but it was a message that I saw loud and clear. It was a message that Graham (Mel Gibson) learned in the end—God is bigger than we are, and He can bring good out of any situation. Anything we go through, He can use at any time through the rest of our life. The story was incredibly written, the acting was absolutely amazing, and I could go on and on, but let me just say this: This is an awesome movie, and I loved it!!
My Ratings: [Somewhat Offensive / 5]
—Lindsay, age 20
Positive—“Signs” is surreal in more ways than one. It is not surprising that a movie delving into the mysteries of extraterrestrial life would have an other-worldly feel to it. But it, paradoxically, was the more down-to-earth aspects of the film that had me feeling like I had been transported to another planet. In Signs, the most strikingly foreign creature is not found among the ranks of the aliens that emerge on screen, but rather the Hollywood-birthed protagonist whose prodical return to the Christian faith is the pay-off and climax of his fictional existence. Refreshingly, “Signs” deviates from the commonplace stereotypes of Christians that have been ubiquitious in previous movies. There are no portrayals of crazy Christians carrying out killing rampages in the name of God. Nor does the overt spirituality of Gibson’s character mean that he must be a languid dummy propped up strategically to the butt of easy jokes and cheap laughs. Indeed, a Hollywood film that has its star waxing poetic on the intense emotional comfort of faith and the inevitable fear and uncertainty that accompanies unbelief is a gem-like rarity. Heart-rending tragedies and personal frailties are eventually viewed through the hindsight of providence. All of these tear-soaked fragments of life are thus brought together in a divine mosaic that speaks to “all things working together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purposes.” See this movie, ignore the few curses, steady yourself for incessant suspense, and be edified.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Sean O'Neil, age 28
Positive—Hi there, I am a pastor and a deliverance minister… I saw the movie on the weekend, and thought that it was real, in terms of the emotions and the anger that some have with God. Do I think the whole aliens thing is real. no. they are demons if anything. But, in this movie, Mel Gibson plays a priest who left the church cause of his anger with God for taking his wife (or he thinks God took his wife) and how he finds his walk with Jesus again at the end. I recommend the movie.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Jason, age 28
Positive—WOW! I was speechless after experiencing “Signs.” This movie comes from a man who has proven himself to be a master story teller; I sincerely hope he has another 30 movies in him. I found it refreshing to see such a main stream movie incorporate such a spiritual side into this movie, and get this… a Christian one at that. While keeping it fairly universal so not to alienate some audience members it was definitely not a pagan beliefs that are being represented. The performances where excellent all around. Gibson gives one of his best and Phoenix (I could swear he and Gibson were really brothers) is not too shabby himself. The young Culkin boy raises a question in my mind. How come Macually was so popular when his younger brothers can act circles around him. Truly excellent performances from both of the children actors. Objectionable content was kept to a minimum. Some brief language and extremely tense moments make this movie appropriate for 12 on up. Any one younger I fear would be scared out of their minds by this. I was even scared. See it!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Seth, age 19
Positive—I went into this movie expecting what this review states. The “signs” the movie is referring to are the crop circles. They are “signs” that aliens are coming. This was not what I found upon exiting the movie. Signs deals with signs of faith, and that God is all around. How many signs are in this movie? I’m still trying to count. During this last ½ hour of this movie however the signs are literally everywhere. Spoiler: Don’t read if you haven’t seen. Think about this: Morgan had to have asthma for the poison not to kill him. His wife had to die for Merrill to be living in the house to swing away. Bo had to only drink ½ a glass of water for them to be everywhere. These are just to mention a few. I’m sure there are plenty more “signs” in this movie that show us that God is good and knows everything that will happen to us. How many signs can you find in Signs?
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Stephanie, age 24
Positive—This is a great thriller—I screamed twice. It has good comic relief to give you a breather, but there are some pretty intense scenes. Walking into the theater, I decided not to take the movie seriously because I knew it was about aliens. It is a pretty clean movie, just rated so high because it’d be really scary for kids.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Steph, age 19
Positive—The message is that there is no hope without God and that all things work together for good. Aliens are the mere background. What skill to emphasize faith and family in place of sensationalizing the alien content! A beautiful film that God will use to draw others to Himself.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Patti, age 34
Positive—I was pleasantly surprised by Signs, I thoroughly expected Graham to rally at the end and believe in “himself” and save the day with his own devices. This movie is about faith more than it is about aliens or their existence. I think it reflects our realization of our inability to protect ourselves against external forces. It amazed me to see a movie portray faith in such a positive light. It is true that there are offensive moments but on the whole I think it could spark some good discussions. I agree with the review. I would caution that this is definitely a PG-13 movie. Leave the young kids at home.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Elizabeth Sanderson, age 29
Positive—This is a great suspense film that you have you jumping out of your seat. It raises a lot of philosophical questions for teens and young adults about faith and God as a protector. I again realized how despairing is a world without God and this film illustrates mankinds frailty and helplessness. I would not recommend this for young children, however. The movies high point is the implicit acknowledgement that God did indeed intervene to save this family-sort of a surprise for a Hollywood blockbuster.
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—April, age 28
Positive—In this age when Hollywood has increasingly produced more movies lacking any sort of creative magic, meaning, or message for an increasingly higher price; SIGNS shows us the way movies can be. The movie is not merely sympathetic to the Christian faith, but is probably the most spiritually intellectual movie made in a long time. SIGNS reveals many spiritual truths and is rife with many symbolic messages such as the “power” of the water, God’s omniscience/omnipotence, and the biggest message of the Bible—the reconciliation of oneself to God. While everything is not truth, the truth is revealed in everything and SIGNS reveals more truth than any of these other so-called “Christian” films whose only message to its audience is the fact that it claims to be “Christian.”
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Robb Greene, age 20
Positive—Wow. Just got back from seeing this wonderful film. I can’t believe how well written it is. I think that Christians will love this film. I’m not too sure that non-Christians will appreciate the pro-God message. It’s jumpy, but if you can last until the end your patience is well rewarded. Wonderful script, acting, direction. Cheesy effects add to the charm frankly. Enjoy!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Jay W., age 43
Positive—My daughter, a 19-year old college student, and I saw “Signs” last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the best kind of scary movie: the scariest stuff was not what you saw, but what you imagined. The things that made you jump and/or were not the aliens, or gory scenes, but unexpected noises, pets sensing unseen visitors, and things the characters could see but not you. The humor in the movie was a welcome relief when tension reached high levels. “Father” Graham’s love and dedication to his family was heartwarming. The relationships between the brother and little sister, as well as between them and their uncle were also very positive pictures of family life. The director and Mr. Gibson effectively portrayed the pain we suffer when we try to live on our own, without faith, or when we blame God for our losses instead of turning to Him for strength. The ending was life-affirming and Godly to me. This is an enjoyable scary movie, but more importantly, it is a movie that will make you think about your relationship with God and others, in an optimistic way.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Judy P. King, age 51
Positive—This was a great movie, the best I have seen in years. It was humorous, dramatic, and suspenseful. The movie does a great job of painting a picture of God’s Providence. So often we only associate God with supernatural events. This movie does a great job of tying all events into a coherent story. There are so many clues that I failed to see, just like in the director’s previous movies. Do I fail to see these in my life where the superintending Hand of Providence is ever present, but mysteriously veiled? This would be an excellent movie to take believers and nonbelievers to and discuss spiritual implications afterward.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Mark L. Gilliam, age 40
Positive—This is an excellent movie. M. Night Shymalan is a brilliant young filmmaker and writer. All the acting is excellent. Mel Gibson is totally different from anything I’ve seen him in before. The kids and Joaquin are also great. There is some great humor to offset the tension. There is little offensive content, some cussing and of course it is quite scary. The ending is soooo good. Definitely a pro-faith movie. The whole thing could be seen as one big slightly unorthodox lesson on the sovereignty of God. Highly recommended although too scary for little kids.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Riley, age 20
Positive—Signs was a refreshing movie. First, it was very high quality film making, but even more important it actually acknowledged that there is a God and that things do happen for a reason. It will definitely leave you with a good feeling as you leave and with all of M. Night’s movies—it will leave you replaying the movie over and over in your mind looking for more “Signs”.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Suzanna, age 29
Positive—A thoughtful well acted movie full of suspense that kept me glued to the screen the whole time. The only exception being a very brief moment of violence (fingers severed) that I preferred not to see. The science fiction element is fairly well done, but not central. Mel Gibson’s character (an Episcopal priest) is bitter at God but forced to reconsider his faith in a way that is well worth seeing. I strongly recommend this film for adults and teens.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Larry Kramer, age 43
Positive—Although some may say it had profanity in about 2 to 3 occasions one thing I tell you it ministered to me throughout the whole fill. I took it more metaphorically. What the water represented to me was the word the only one that drank it was the little girl, which was the only one that got revelation. One of the writers in the Bible ate the scrolls and said it was sweet but when he swallowed it then it seemed bitter, just like the girl. Another thing was it showed me how the enemy attacks he first make us lose our focus so then he could strike just like the alien, which represented demon or satan. They never bashed through the door they always tried to find an open door. Another thing was that when a big trial came he lost his faith for God and his brother that had less was the one who ended up praying and asking God for help (notice in the cellar he was mumbling while the boy struggled to breath). Another thing was when they were talking about the brothers record he had 5, 2 good reports and 3 bad but although he stroke a lot out he never lost faith of hitting those homers. I could go on and on but it was a great spiritual film if you went with the mind of Christ.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Yassiel Nieves, age 20
Positive—I just saw “Signs” tonight with my parents, and I have to say, it was a very well-made, engrossing film. I was excited how the plot unfolded, and how the theme of “nothing is a coincidence” runs through it the entire time. The cast is perfect—Mel Gibson delivers a wonderfully believable performance as a minister who has a wounded spirit, and through the wild and chilling events that unfold in the film, finds healing. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this film is great and I encourage people to go out and see it. There are very intense and frightening moments which may not be suitable for kids under thirteen, but it is fairly clean (maybe two or three mild curses) and is a superb summer flick to enjoy on a muggy summer night. It is a movie that not only entertains, but makes you think about life in general.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Amber, age 21
Positive—This was a great film. Extremely suspenseful and engaging! I have to go see this one again. Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, and Rory Culkin give excellent performances. Has a great message about faith and redemption… pretty scary stuff, so I wouldn’t take the kiddies! M. Night Shalayman has another instant classic on his hands!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Adam, age 20
Positive—I just saw signs with my husband, and I am quite picky. I really liked it up until the end. I get scared pretty easily. But to find a movie that isn’t just a bit tarnished is almost impossible these days. I recommend this movie to older teens and adults.
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—Natalie Moore, age 31
Neutral
Neutral—What I didn’t like about this movie, although the very interesting plot, was the way Graham turned against the Lord. Many scenes telling his family he isn’t real and that we shouldn’t waste our time praying, that he hates God. Although after a strong anger toward God, Graham did realize that life does happen by more than coincidence. **Warning: some plot revelations** I thought the alien scenes up until they showed the whole alien, were great. But when they showed the alien in full view, I felt I was watching one of those old horror films… very fake and I totally lost interest.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Heather Taylor, age 20
Negative
Negative—Overall, Yuk!. I thought this film should have been left on the cutting room floor, since that’s where I think most of it came from anyway. I agree that there are some good moral lessons, topics for discussion and acting, as well as some very good scenes about family struggle to go through tough times, and even good humor. However, the other 90% of the content seems to me to be stolen from every other sci-fi horror film I can remember (most of which I saw before I became a Christian). About halfway through, the plot goes from “interesting edge-of-the-seat” to “there’s no way I can believe this” mode. The board up the house and let’s hide in the basement til morning when the danger is over is right out of “Night of the Living Dead.” The “there’s a monster in my room, can I have a drink of water?” line from the little girl, a direct copy of the “Sixth Sense” scene. Dogs gone wild because of mysterious alien presence—“Cujo”, Watch the attack on TV as it unfolds all over the world—“War of the worlds” with a more modern media, Same stuff on every channel—“Poltergeist”. There’s even a bouncy camera jaunt into the yard with a flashlight that copies “Blair Witch”—and I didn’t even see that one. Not to mention the shouting at the corn from “Field of Dreams” the setting (children of the corn) and the “the aliens want to eats us” from the “Twilight Zone” episode. How un-original can you get? From a Christian perspective, my comment overall is that spending anything to go see this one is bad stewardship—even the 3$ to rent it, or the value of your time.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
—Neil Christensen, age 43
Negative—The Spotlight review says that “Signs” is sympathetic to Christian faith, but I did not find it so… Lots of thrills and sudden scary moments (my 17 year old daughter left the theater because she just didn’t want the tension any more), but the underlying message(s) that I heard run counter to reformed Christian thinking. It’s hard to discuss without giving away the end, but the picture “Signs” gives of a god who makes a mother die and gives a boy asthma in order to work good isn’t the God I worship. The underlying question, are you in Group 1, the folks who believe there is purpose behind everything, or Group 2, those who think they’re just alone, walkin’ thru life, is answered clearly by the end, yes there is a purpose, but this answer doesn’t deal with the sinful nature of mankind (which leads to carelessness and car accidents), or the rather shallow faith of “father” Graham, which left when he lost his wife, and returned when good started again. What’s the purpose? And WHOSE purpose is it? And where does individual responsibility begin? Or are we all just puppets of some benign master, working thru a bland script with no real burdens because it all turns out nicely in the end? Could this movie spark some discussion? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s “sympathetic to Christian thinking.” The movie actually suggests an impersonal, positive thinking-spiritualism, all too prevalent in these times, and well in keeping with Mr. Shyamalan’s Hindu upbringing.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Becky, age 47
Negative—Very boring, except for the last 20 minutes or so. Too many dead spots, too little narration, and a feeble attempt at humor in places where there should have been terror. The only positive is the priest regaining his Faith at the very end of the movie. I would not recommend this movie.
My Ratings: [2]
—Bob McDuell, age 63
Comments from young people
Positive—Signs, as many have siad, is an edge of the seat thriller. Also said, there is no nuidity, sex or anything else. Graham(Gibson) is a priest who has lost his faith in God after the horribly tragic death of his wife. And Graham does not curse or swear at all. When he and his broter Merril run around the house to scare someone off, Merril suggest they use profane sayings, but Graham says he doesn’t even know how to do that, and tunrs around the house saying very funny thing. (“I’m losing my mind!”)> All in all, at the end, you see that Graham recovers his fiath and realises that all things DO work together for good. But this IS a very tense movie, like Hitchcock.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Joe, age 15
Positive—Considering that the movie industry is basically secular films with very few christian films I thought this was a great film. The director and writer are able to reach to non-christians through this film. It shows the truth, that even as christians life has its hardships and nobody is perfect. So with out scaring away non-believers this film has made an attempt to reach them in the secular market. I feel this film was great. Had lots of action, kept you on the edge of your seat and had good morals and intentions.
My Ratings: [Excellent / 5]
—Cory Fross, age 16
Positive—This was an incredibly suspenseful, taut film that somewhat resembled a graphics enhanced Hitchcock film of old. As Hitchcock often did we find Shyamalin making his appearance in the film, this time with a fairly heavy role. That was one of the problems, when a director/writer writes a cameo for himself, it usually works, and provides a moment of recognition for the audience. (We hear the typical whispers “Hey, isn’t that the director?) But with this it just doesn’t feel right. The only other problem I had was the actual appearance of the alien, which, as menacing as it was in its CGI glory, turned the movie from the claustrophobic suspense film it should have been into a crowd-pleasing action film. It worked best when we were scared by what we couldn’t see—in the cornfield, in the house. Save for the two appearances I felt were problematic I found this to be very well done. The acting is right on, the script well-written, the direction superb. Shyamalin has a distinct talent for using closed, dark sets to get right inside our minds as he plays out the scene. All in all it is definitely worth paying full price to go and see.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Will Moes, age 17
Positive—Very exciting, morally and biblically positive thriller. Everyone should see it!
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Iris, age 17
Positive—I have just one word for this film. WOW!!! AMAZING!!! THRILLING!!! Hold on, maybe that’s more then a word. O well… This film deserves it though. I was at the edge of my seat the entire film and couldn’t wait to see how it would end. From a christian standpoint, it has a very good theme of keeping your faith in God no matter what happens to you. The only objectional content would be some language but it is used in a way for laughs. And it IS pretty funny. I would not recommend this film for young children though. It is VERY frightening. There are many jump scenes but if you enjoy a great thrill ride of a movie, then I would definitely recommend Signs.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Kyle Sellner, age 17
Positive—This movie was so very cool! It was intense, yet the many funny parts let you relax and laugh. I can’t wait for it to come out on video so that I can enjoy it over and over again! It was better than Unbreakable, and the Sixth Sense! Very cool!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—manda, age 15
Positive—This movie was incredible. while it’s hard to be certain if aliens really do exist, this movie portrays it in such a real way that you’ll be freaking out till the very end. but somehow in the midst of all the tension, the movie has great humor that had me laughing even when I was scared about what scary thing might happen next. but what most impressed me about this movie is that it did tackle some issues of christianity. I thought it was an awesome ending, and I’m glad the priest got his faith back. all the events that had to happen to make him see the light just come together and really make you look more closely at the big picture. so even though this movie might be mostly fiction, there is a very real message tucked in between all the science fiction. it’s as entertaining as a movie gets, and you won’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the night.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—josh, age 15
Positive—Most reviews for this movie subject it as a science-fiction crop circle movie. They do not even acknowledge the intense spirituality shown throughout the film. Mel Gibson portrays a priest, who after his wife’s untimely death, leaves the church. When crop circles appear around the globe (and in his backyard), he tries to write it off as a coincidence, or work done by pranksters. But reality sets in when live sightings of UFOs are on the TV all day. It seems the end of the world is near, yet he still will not turn back to God. He seems angry at himself for ever believing, yet his children possess great faith, which proves to help them in the end. This movie may not be good for youngsters, as scenes with aliens keep you on the edge of your seat and are very intense. But for teens and adults of all denominations, I think this is a must see.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Michael Fox, age 15
Neutral—Well, I don’t care what other reviewers say, because everyone in the theater was cracking up. This movie had no suspense whatsoever. I didn’t even get startled once. Me and my friends, along with the rest of the people, were dying laughing at this horrible movie. It’s worth seeing just for its humor, such as the “suspense” in itself, or the “run around the house screaming profanities” scene. As far as language and violence, it had a little language, no real violence.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Timothy, age 15
Positive—Wow! Yet once again, M. Night Shyamalan delivers an excellent thriller!! His other films, “The Sixth Sense,” and “Unbreakable”, were terrifying and mind-boggling! “Signs” is somewhere in between the previous two films. It is both suspenseful and it makes you think. From the very beginning of the film, I was guessing through hundreds of different scenarios about what was really happening. Every one of my ideas was blown out of the water during the following scene. No theories ever survived very long. Needless to say, I was glued to the screen. It was thoroughly entertaining, to the last minute. The actual plot (like Shyamalan’s previous films) sounds really silly on the outside, but when you see it on screen, you feel like it could really happen, and you thank God it’s not real.

It centers around a small-town preacher, who has rejected God, because his wife died. That little fact thickens the plot when he finds crop circles in his field, and in others around the globe. To make matters worse, there are lights appearing above the world’s major cities. The plot builds up from there. The quality of the film is exceptional. Sure, the acting was a little stiff at times, but Joaquin Phoenix’s and Mel Gibson’s, characters where absolutely believable (and hilarious at times). The cinematography was very original, using reflections and lighting to get a very creepy atmosphere. The biggest downsides were the “Main Title” sequence, and the ending. The music for the opening credits was a little weird and not very enjoyable (whereas “Unbreakable”’s score was excellent). In addition, the lettering and background looked primitive and claustrophobic, I thought. The ending was good, don’t get me wrong, but the lack of epilogue left me a little bit unsatisfied. In the interest of looking at it from a Christian perspective, I must give away the conclusion: There really are aliens in the film. I don’t believe in aliens, because I believe if God did create another world and species, then He would have said something about them in the Bible, which to my knowledge, He didn’t. However, aliens do make good science fiction (like evolution).

With that out of the way, the characters actually meet an alien in the climax, and it is very realistic. For once, the alien doesn’t have a slender body, large head and large eyes! The computer animation looked very real. One interesting thing to note is the small scale of things: it’s not very “epic”. Unlike “Independence Day,” where the heroes are gung-ho super heroes who save the world, “Signs” characters pretty much “stick to the farm.” They watch the news and see all kinds of crazy stuff happening around the world, like invasions, but the film really focuses on what happens to the family, not to the world. It therefore creates more of a “what if it happened to me?” kind of atmosphere. Thankfully, the film is respectful toward pro-Christian faith. Graham turns back to God.

The film gives us the message that nothing is coincidence and that everything has a purpose. As for content, it was fairly clean. There was no sexuality and almost no violence, but it has a fair amount of profanity. I don’t remember the use of God’s name in vain (though that doesn’t mean they weren’t there). Most of the profanity is used in a comical way and is not very harsh. The movie has a lot of unexpected humor in it, which makes it even better. Plus, the film has a lot of touching scenes between Graham and his children which could make you cry. His relationship with his brother is very humorous. I would leave younger kids at home though, mostly because of the scariness of it all. It has a lot of suspense and shock effect (one of Shyamalan’s specialties), but it’s tastefully done. Shyamalan shows us once again that you can have frightening movies without gore and occultism. I liked this film a lot, and look forward to Shyamalan’s next “Twilight Zone-ish” film. Go see this one. It’s refreshing (Heh, heh, heh).
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Cade Loven, age 15
Positive—After I watched this movie I wanted to go right back in the theater and watch it again it was so good. I loved the fact that there was faith related issue in this movie, and at the end they made it know that there really is a God that’s with us through everything and everything happens for a reason. In other words all things work together for good. I loved this movie but if you don’t like to be scared then don’t go see it.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Dayna, age 14