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Signs (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 2 August 2002 (USA)
1:35 | Trailer

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A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.


M. Night Shyamalan
1,798 ( 46)
3 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Rev. Graham Hess
Joaquin Phoenix ... Merrill Hess
Rory Culkin ... Morgan Hess
Abigail Breslin ... Bo Hess
Cherry Jones ... Officer Paski
M. Night Shyamalan ... Ray Reddy
Patricia Kalember ... Colleen Hess
Ted Sutton ... SFC Cunningham
Merritt Wever ... Tracey Abernathy, the Pharmacist
Lanny Flaherty ... Mr. Nathan
Marion McCorry ... Mrs. Nathan
Michael Showalter ... Lionel Prichard
Kevin Pires Kevin Pires ... Brazilian Birthday Boy
Clifford David ... Columbia University Professor
Rhonda Overby Rhonda Overby ... Sarah Hughes


Preacher Graham Hess, played by Mel Gibson, has lost his faith in God after his wife dies in a brutal car accident. He along with his son and daughter and his brother Merrill lives in a farmhouse. Crop circles begin to appear in their corn fields which Graham dismisses 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 and believe, as a family to survive the ordeal and find a way to escape. Written by Radhakrishnan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Signs Of Life See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some frightening moments | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Portuguese

Release Date:

2 August 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M. Night Shyamalan's Signs See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »


Box Office


$72,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,117,080, 4 August 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX | SDDS | DTS


Color (DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The pantry scene took three weeks to film. See more »


The dog's names are Houdini and Isabella, but in the scene where they appear together in the cornfield, they are both male. See more »


Morgan: [seeing his father staring at them in slight confusion as to why they have their heads wrapped in tinfoil] It's so the aliens can't read our minds.
Graham Hess: [in a placidly-resigned playing-along-and-almost-half-believing-it-himself-at-that-point tone] Oh - - oh, of course.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In Memory of Bill Nisselson - June 19, 2001 See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

There are those who believe and those who do not, what are you?
8 August 2002 | by ali-ladhaniSee all my reviews

My thoughts on M. Night Shyamalan's SIGNS

Rated: PG (Canada), PG-13 (U.S.)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Kulkin, Abigail Breslin, Cherry Jones and M Night Shayamalan

"Daddy there's a monster beside my bed, can I have a glass of water?"

When Graham (Mel Gibson) and Merill Hess (Joaquin Phoenix) discover 50 ft circle and square shapes carved in their crops, the two try and find out the truth behind what is going on. However, what Graham learns soon is that the battle he will soon be facing is not that of extra terrestrial beings but that within his own self.

In facing a universal theme of life on other planets, Shyamalan's handling is different from your ordinary type of supernatural movie. This is because the underlying theme of this movie is not aliens, but in fact, it is faith. Faith in something larger, faith of miracles, faith that nothing in this life is coincidental and everything happens for a reason. The theme of this movie is not survival of outer forces rather than survival of internal and seemingly more powerful than what is even happening outside.

There is not a single movie that is out there which scares the viewer on a level of things they are NOT seeing rather than what they do see. It does not deserve to be classified in any category because this film is in a league of its own. The base of supernatural and extra terrestrial beings in this case forms the base for human self exploration and finding who they truly are.


In all sequences, Shyamalan concentrates on character development and even from the first scene, we seemingly have a look into the world of a man, who is emotionally wounded, and yet silent and powerful. Shyamalan has gone with Mel Gibson to play the title role, which some fans of M. Night would have rather gone with Bruce Willis who has played the quiter type role in Sixth Sense and even starred in Shyamalan's "Unbreakable". However, from the very first frame, you can see that Gibson becomes the role and lives through the role. In terms of his performance, the transformation he goes through the entire frame of the movie really is a true testament to the powerful skill that this actor embodies. In many scenes, his eyes do the talking, and it takes a powerful director to really capitalize on what Gibson does in this type of role.

Joaquin Phoenix, playing Graham's brother Merill, is a powerful support in the movie. His character gains a lot of sympathy. Even as he is trying to find his place in the world, his support for his family is unwavering, making this role one of the most sympathetic and yet powerful roles the talented actor has ever faced.

Once again, Shyamalan gets unbelievably powerful performances from his child artistes in this movie. Rory Culkin, playing Graham's son in the movie, as well as Abigial Breslin, give such emotion filled performances that it really surprises us that Shyamalan can extract performances of this calibre from them.

Even Cherry Jones, who plays the local police officer, puts in a realistic and heartfelt performance as the local police officer in Graham's community.

Finally, Shyamalan himself makes a mark in the film. His role is an essential one and yet does not require many scenes. Shyamalan pulls them off with full ease and power.


If you try and compare "Signs" to any previous movies you may be able to find some ground from this movie in Shyamalan's first movie, "The Sixth Sense". However, in terms of comparisons, this is where they end. Shyamalan knows how to create and move in terms of environment, which is very important for all his movies. Shyamalan's direction is powerful and really gets under the skin of the characters.

Being a thriller, Shyamalan has used an older technique, where he uses comedy to offset a particular mood, even in the gravest of scenes. Shyamalan pulls this off extremely well, even as the screenplay pulls into frightening moments. It takes a brilliant filmmaker to do something like this even when the mood of the scene is totally contrasting to that of what the audience is experiencing.

Its something refreshing to see a brand new director like Shyamalan using the rules of filmmaking that have been forgotten by many of the newer filmmakers these days into making something so powerful and so refreshingly different for the summer. While many new filmmakers base their movies on subjects that really don't take any risks, Shyamalan has made a seemingly new genre, one of self exploration and discovery while in the face of fear or adversity. There is no other film like this one, as it takes two genres and really powers itself into making a seemingly hard hitting combination.

Even the title of the film has a meaning, as the signs are everywhere. There are subtle and hidden messages everywhere, from the scene where Merill is in the Army office and the Recruiter is speaking, or the flashback sequences which Mel Gibson has of a particular incident in his life.


This film is unlike any other film to have ever come out in the genre of supernatural thriller or drama. Its something that lets you leave the cinema thinking truly that in this life there are no coincidences and things happen for a reason. As Gibson said in the film, there are two kinds of people. There are those who believe that everything happens for a reason and that we are not alone; and there are those who believe that we live in metaphysical solitude. There are people with faith and without it. He now has to figure out which group he belongs to, and so he does in the chilling climax.

The film is one of the most powerful pieces of cinema I have witnessed and simply put is a much watch.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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