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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.
Graham Hess, a former preacher who gave up his faith due to an accident that claimed the life of his wife, lives with his brother and two children on a small farm outside of Pennsylvania. As the movie opens up, Graham's son Morgan and daughter Bo have found some crop-circles in the cornfield outside their house. Graham believes this to be foul play by some locals, and calls up Officer Caroline to explain the situation. She says that the people Graham suspected have an alibi; they were at the movies during the time in which this all happened. More and more of these crop-circles start popping up around the world, but Graham's brother Merrill believes it to be an elaborate hoax by some bored nerds trying to get attention. The kids are buying into the televised announcements of it being aliens, and Graham isn't sure what to believe... until he actually sees an alien outside in his cornfield, and then another on the nightly news. Now, Graham starts to question his decision to leave his religion behind, and tries to come up with a plan to protect his family...
Review by Chad
Added: July 28, 2004
The storyline here flows along nicely throughout the film, and although there's a lot of dialogue scenes and not a whole lot of alien-action, it never gets boring or too slowed down throughout the running time of the film. This doesn't play out as most of your typical alien-invasion films do, as the focus of the film seems to be more on the family relationship and Graham's thoughts on life and leaving the church, with the alien invasion seeming to be more of a way of keeping the film moving along from scene to scene. There's a lot of scenes and twists dealing with the idea of blind luck versus the idea of everything happening for a reason, and this really comes together in the final moments of the film, and it definitely came out nicely. The way this movie played out would undoubtedly turn off some of the kids who just wanted to see an action film or another god-awful version of "The Sixth Sense", but it came across surprisingly well in my opinion. That's not to say that there's nothing good in the way of alien-action, as there was a fair share of tense moments and scenes that probably would have had a theater jumping in shock. The only real gripe I had with this film was the final method of disposing of the aliens, which I thought was hokey and unbelievable... but eh, what can you do.
The acting jobs done by the cast really kept things moving along nicely, and contributed greatly to the overall enjoyment of the film. While the storyline presented here was interesting enough in its own right, it could have very easily been screwed up had some bad casting decisions been made. Mel Gibson plays the lead role of Graham, and does a great job with his part. I'm not normally a fan of his and never pass up a chance to laugh at his choice of self-pleasuring methods, but I have to admit that he did splendidly here. Joaquin Phoenix plays his live-in brother Merrill, and also plays his role to perfection. Hell, even the child actors here were decent enough in their roles here, and I normally despise any sort of children in main roles. Solid casting choices all around.
Overall, worth the viewing if you're a fan of M. Night Shyamalan's previous films, as this one ranks as one of his better ones. Just don't go in expecting another shock ending, as the revelations here are much more subtle and thought-provoking than a simple "he was a ghost all along!" twist. 8/10.
- added 08/04/2004, 03:06 AM
Wow, M. Night Shyamalan is crazy as shit. This is
an excellent movie. To tell you the truth, it
actually took place in Bucks County, north of
where I live (Philadelphia). I never knew until I
saw the making of "Signs." Anyway, it is an
excellent movie; I like it when his brother and
kids go crazy due to extraterrestrial contact and
stories (mostly breaking news from around the
- added 08/18/2004, 05:33 AM
I like it. M. Night Shyamalan's a pretty good
director, except for the Village (ick).
- added 08/19/2004, 01:22 PM
This... was an okay movie, but I'm not a fan of
Joaquin Phoenix in this movie. One can see he's an
obvious favourite of Mr Shyamalan's, hence The
Village, but I personally felt with this movie
that the idea of him "turning away from the eyes
of God" after his wife died in a car crash a
little unrealistic. I mean, really. That's rare
enough; but for a guy with all that misfortune to
suddenly be invaded and anal probed by aliens? I
mean, come on. Maybe you're meant to feel sorry
for Mel Gibson, but in my opinion the emotion just
wasn't there for Mel, and it was only the sanctity
of the children I felt appealed to me; as you got
the idea there was something tied to do with them
that might catch up in the end, and it did - all
of that damned water. Ah well, I'd give this maybe
- added 12/21/2006, 12:17 AM
Boring. Loved the asthma joke at the end... but
it was boring. Wait, it wasn't a joke? I coulda
sworn... ah... whatever... 2/10
- added 06/14/2008, 07:32 PM
I found the premise of this movie, and a lot of
the small details in it, to be quite neat. The
end product though really disappointed me. Too
many coincidences that "just happen" to
work out in the end bored me greatly. That the
girl has a strange habit of leaving half-full
water glasses everywhere actually has a purpose
(and what the purpose turned out to be) was one of
the worst plot twists I've sat through.
South Park had it right when the military
critized Shyamalan with "That's not an idea;
that's a twist." Shyamalan: "I don't
see the difference." Military: "We know
- added 06/14/2008, 09:11 PM
Plot twist? Did this movie even have a twist? I
don't think leaving the water out was meant to be
a twist. I dunno, but I think Shyamalan wasn't
really going for a twist with this one. I knew the
weakness within the first 10 minutes, so I hope
not. Anyways, I like this one the most. 9/10 for
me. it actually gave me the creeps.
- added 06/23/2008, 01:02 AM
Just watched it again. By far better than his
other work. I found The Sixth Sense to be boring
except for a few parts. Never seen Unbreakable,
Village was OK, and never watched his later 2.
Like you said, the acting was spot on, lots of
emotional parts, and a great ending. I don't agree
with the ending being unbelievable. It could
happen, none of us have a clue. Plus, you could
say the whole movie is unbelievable if you don't
believe in another life form. My only problem with
this movie it;s creepyness and scares have no
impact what so ever on a second viewing. I haven't
seen this in years so I figured it would creep me
out a little. Besides one moment where I got
goosebumps, it just wasn't the same. My memory of
the scenes was more frightening.
- added 02/04/2009, 04:27 PM
For none of it being probable, it wasn't half
- added 06/10/2009, 01:18 PM
Probably my favourite Shyamalan film. It's a
great combination of genres, and makes for a very
- added 02/10/2010, 05:18 AM
Absolutely loved this one. And I have to say,
most of the criticisms here aren't even relevant
provided you paid half a bit of attention.
- added 02/10/2010, 10:14 PM
My main problem was that the plot beats you over
the head with details that are obviously
foreshadowing future events. It was almost as
blatant as whichever Jurassic Park movie had the
girl whine about being kicked off the gymnastics
team just to set up her defeating raptors using
gymnastic flip-attack #7.