2,418 user 214 critic

Signs (2002)

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


M. Night Shyamalan
884 ( 454)
3 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


It's happening. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The scene where Merrill wakes Graham up in the basement the next morning has a different version of news played on the radios. This one features lights in the sky being talked about. See more »


The news anchor, when discussing the lights over Mexico, pauses long enough for Bo and Morgan to fight over his taping over her video. The voice returns once Morgan pops in the tape. See more »


Graham Hess: That's ridiculous. How can anyone possibly know that information? What else does it say?
See more »

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

Much To Enjoy, But Somehow Short of the Mark
18 April 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

In a documentary that accompanies the film on DVD, M. Night Shyamalan admits that SIGNS was greatly influenced by such films as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and Hitchcock's THE BIRDS--an admission that will come as no surprise to any one who has seen SIGNS in the wake of those films. Although very different, all three have one thing in common: they ultimately focus on a small group of people fighting off an unnatural entity that attempts to invade their very ordinary homes.

The story is an unusual mix of meditative religious and classic sci-fi elements blended together by Shyamalan's remarkable sense of visual style. Mel Gibson is a minister who has lost his faith in the wake of his wife's tragic accidental death and who now rejects the concept of unseen powers entirely--so he is nonplussed when his children discover a crop circle in his own cornfield. He remains skeptical even as television news coverage reports alien crafts hovering over major cities. But his denial is exploded when he and his family have a close encounter of the extremely nasty kind.

The small cast is extremely, extremely good. I generally dislike Mel Gibson as an actor, but he has grown a bit since his macho-bravado BRAVEHEART days, and while he might seem an unlikely choice for the part of a failed minister he carries it extremely well. Joaquin Phoenix is perfectly cast as Gibson's younger brother, and the children--Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin--are flawless.

What isn't flawless is the story. The blend of religious and sci-fi motifs is an interesting idea, but director Shyamalan (who also wrote the script) doesn't quite manage to hold them in balance, and ultimately winds up beating you over the head with the film's religious elements while giving the sci-fi elements the short end of the stick. I did appreciate the fact that the film builds suspense more by what it does not show than what it does, and I have no qualm with that--it's a welcome choice after such special effects overkill as INDEPENDENCE DAY and the like--but several of his plot devices smack of stereotype, and the film's conclusion is such a deus ex machina that it is not to be believed. There is indeed a great deal to admire about the film, but when all is said and done it somehow lacks sincerity and falls just short of the mark. Entertaining nonetheless.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

53 of 108 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2,418 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »





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

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX | SDDS | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed