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Real horror flicks play out in your mind, not on the movie screen. Thumbs up for Shyamalan!
I have adopted the opinion that many of the people giving such scathing reviews to this movie were instead waiting to see "Independence Day 2" or some other computer effect-ridden insubstantial character drivel of the same sort.
In fact, this movie is nothing like the in-your-face, look-how-many-millions-we-can-spend, typical sci-fi movie that movie-goers have been exposed to lately.
This flick has style. This flick knows how to reach into your chest and twist. This movie is a roller coaster of emotions... taking you from curiosity in the premise, to compassion for the family, to concern about the building sci-fi overtones, to almost utter heartbreak at the pain this family has suffered, right up through sheer terror, and finally into a resolution that, contrary to much opinion here on IMDB, I thought was brilliantly done and had plenty of meaning for my tastes.
There is a particular scene toward the end of the movie where I felt my eyes almost welling up over the sadness on-screen, and in a single instant, with nothing more than the reaching of an arm and the tugging of a shirt, was into a hilarious laugh. Two minutes later, I was about to jump out of my seat again with suspense, set off by Shyamalan's genius using a baby monitor as a suspense device.
'Signs' grasped my attention and held it throughout the movie. The acting was incredible throughout. Abigail Breslin almost steals the movie away as the adorable little Bo Hess. Rory Caulkin and Joaquin Phoenix each turn in commendable performances. Even Shyamalan himself in a cameo role is believable in his plight. Gibson, of course, always hits his mark.
As far as the deus ex machina ending of the movie being written about here, what people are describing as the contrived ending had nothing to do with the real action that resolved the overall sci-fi conflict in the movie. My guess is that they failed to understand the ending in their disappointment over not seeing Randy Quaid piloting an F-14 into the mothership.
If what you want to see is F-14s dog-fighting with flying saucers, a minimum of $30 million spent on special effects, and scenes of millions of aliens swarming over the landscape and being blasted into orange goo -- wait for Independence Day 2.
If you like movies that rely more on your own imagination to create suspense and thrill rather than having someone program your imagination for you, and would rather be treated to a thoughtful reflection on the human overtones of sci-fi stories over the pervasive special effects of 21st century movie-making... go see Signs. You'll enjoy it.