Preacher Graham Hess loses his faith in God after his wife dies in a brutal car accident. He lives with his children and brother in a farmhouse. Crop circles start to appear in their cornfields; Graham dismisses them as mischief by miscreants. After hearing strange noises and watching news coverage on crop circles appearing all over the world, the family grows suspicious of alien activities. Now they must stick together as a family and believe, to survive and escape the ordeal.Written by
The prints hanging over the fireplace and Graham's bed in the Hess's home are "Stone City" and "Spring Plowing," respectively, by American artist Grant Wood (1891-1942), who is perhaps best-known for his painting "American Gothic." He co-founded an art colony in Stone City, Iowa in the early 1930s. See more »
As Officer Paski walks back to her cruiser, her ballpoint pen shifts from being clipped on the outside of her shirt pocket to being fully inside. See more »
There are a lot of things I can take, and some things I can't. But what I can't take is when my older brother, who's everything that I want to be, starts losing faith in things. I saw that look in your eyes last night. I don't ever want to see that look in your eyes again.
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The end credits are black text that rolls over a black screen with a illuminated blue circle in the middle, instead of the traditional white text on a flat black background. See more »
An additional deleted scene was shown during the credits when it aired on a pay channel in the USA. Grahm Hess tells everyone they must go into the basement. He then tells the story of how he accidentally dislocated Merrill's elbow when he was 1½ years old, and that Merrill never got mad at him. The scene ends with everyone walking down the stairs and closing the basement door. See more »
Works up some eerie suspense but is ultimately unsatisfying...
Most of the suspense is well geared to keep you wondering how on earth this plot is going to be unraveled--but when the windup comes it's a disappointment in more ways than one. I was with the story until the last fifteen minutes when the whole thing just fell apart--but along the way there are many things to admire.
The performances are all first-rate, although I would have preferred a better, more appealing child actor than Rory Culkin as the son who reads up on aliens. He lacks the distinct personality of his more famous brother. Abigail Breslin, on the other hand, is a sheer delight in her role, reminiscent of Drew Barrymore in "ET". Joaquin Phoenix does a standout job as Mel Gibson's brother who can wield a mean baseball bat and Gibson himself is so subdued for a change that it makes you wonder if he really believed in the script. Phoenix and his relationship with the children provides some humorous highlights that are welcome in this kind of intense story. It's nice to see him in a more wholesome role than usual.
The suspense is guaranteed to keep you glued to the screen until the letdown of an ending. Just be advised that there are compensations for keeping a sharp eye on the film before the disappointing denouement. M. Night Shyamalan can be praised for an original script and some smart direction--but too bad the religious aspects of the story were so muddled as to seem foolish. James Newton Howard's score is highly effective for this kind of story, especially toward the end.
Enjoy at your own risk because along the way the contrivances show.
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