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Signs (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 2 August 2002 (USA)
Trailer
1:35 | Trailer
A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Director:

M. Night Shyamalan
Popularity
1,449 ( 138)
3 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... 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
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
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Storyline

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 Radhakrishnan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The first sign you can't explain. The second sign you can't ignore. The third sign you won't believe. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Only the scenes in the bookstore and the pizza shop were filmed in Newtown (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. The scenes of the house and cornfields were filmed on forty acres, that were leased to the film company by Delaware Valley College (an agriculture college) of Doylestown (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. After filming, the film company donated all the corn grown to the college's vegetable and fruit market. The house was built on the grounds and torn down after filming. Delaware Valley College is acknowledged in the credits at the end of the film. The drugstore scene was filmed in Morrisville (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. See more »

Goofs

When Graham is at Reddy's house, Reddy speeds away in his truck the camera is reflected in the window. See more »

Quotes

Merrill: The nerds were right.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

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 »

User Reviews

 
Now then, swing away Merill, again.
6 October 2012 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Signs is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin and Cherry Jones. Music is scored by James Newton Howard and cinematography by Tak Fujimoto.

Still reeling from the death of his wife, former man of the cloth Graham Hess (Gibson) lives and works on his farm with his two young children and younger brother. When the family awakes one morning to find a huge crop circle in their plantation, it is asked if it's a prank or the sign of alien contact?

I don't know if M. Night Shyamalan discouraged the marketing of Signs? Where evidence very much pointed to it being an alien invasion movie for all the family to enjoy? But Signs is anything but a family alien invasion movie. The trailers were deliberately vague, there was a mystery element hanging over the picture and with the Shyamalan CV already boasting the phenomenally successful The Sixth Sense and the divisive, but very moody, Unbreakable, hopes were pitched somewhere between excited and intrigued. Gibson on board, and Phoenix as well, good selling points without a doubt. However, Signs is a grower, a film that pays better dividends on further viewings once armed with the knowledge of what sort of theme drives it on. Yet it still frustrates greatly and you can see why it proved so divisive.

Shyamalan's movie is primarily about faith, the loss of such, the alien visitors are merely a component of this theme, they act as the catalyst that takes Graham to the pinnacle of his voyage of discovery. The meditations on faith and grief are subtle initially but they drive the picture forward, but then Manoj Shyamalan slips into sermonising and his picture strives for a huge ending to justify it, which unfortunately never arrives, this after having been tickled and baited by the mystery of what the aliens want, friend or foe? Questions leap out such as will the Hess family come through this latest crisis in one piece? And will this "invasion" marry up with the director's thematics that he is so keen for us to open our hearts to? The answers to these questions are mixed, and take further viewings to digest fully. That is if you can forgive the downright idiocy of the alien visitors in the first place?

The last third has killed the film for many, which is a shame given the excellence on offer in the first hour. Shyamalan's camera is wonderfully fluid, his mise en scène is ace and he garners wonderfully low-key performances from his cast. While as much as his critics hate to acknowledge it, the director has a brilliant knack for building suspense, the ability to draw the viewer into his world, playing on our basic inquisitive nature. That he hasn't delivered on his promise, both here with the finale to the film and later in his overall directing career (though this writer personally loves The Village), is hard to argue against, but there is major talent there buried in his egocentric/confused make up. Elsewhere, James Newton Howard's score is channelling Herrmann and Fujimoto's photography is sublime, this really is a beautiful movie to look at.

Definitely not a family film, and not really an alien invasion film, with it showcasing both the good and bad aspects of its director. Yet still compelling and pretty enough to warrant a second viewing me thinks. 7/10


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$72,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,117,080, 4 August 2002

Gross USA:

$227,966,634

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$408,247,917
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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