* * * * SIGNS     
    Warning, a few spoliers: With Signs M. Night Shyamalan demonstrates that he's inching close to Hitchcock like perfection. We may be looking at the tip of the iceburg for this young and talented director slash writer.

    Must admit, first viewing of this gem was via DVD and after sitting through this rollercoaster I am rather happy I did not have time to see it in the theaters because I may not be writing this right now. Surround sound alone could have killed me and all the life forms in the vacinity. If you have heart problems stear away from this one, no joke.

    The trailers for this one peaked my interest, then made me afraid, but I didn't really know why. The fact is the trailers don't really tell you anything besides a possible abduction plot. But behind the images of crop circles there seems to be something hidden. Something ready to jump out at you. That assumption is on the mark. This is not a crop circle story. This is not an alien abduction story. This is a plot you never though you would sit and experience. Unfortunately for the squeemish, much like a roller coaster once you're on you can't get off. Stopping in the middle of this film will probably freak you out more than turning it off.

    The beauty of signs is it takes the whole concept of alien invasion, ala Independance Day, and turns it on its ear. What would a situation like ID feel like from an individual perspective. Someone living in the boonies who has a radio, TV and not much else. What would happen to an individual family.

    There are no explosions here. Not even a gunshot. No skyscrapers and most importantly no help in sight. Tension builds minute by minute as first you think that Mel Gibson's character (who is an ex-preacher) is just going nuts, then you realise that the alien invasion in his head is actually happening. While he boards up his house to make a stand, directly out of the blueprint from Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, you are trapped inside as well. Here, what you don't see is way more powerful then what do see. Before the final board is nailed, Gibson pears outside and looks at the horizon. What he sees is beyond disturbing. The camera never sees it, but at that moment your mind instantly explodes.

    Not many people will know this, but created shots of UFO lights at Mexico City are derived almost exactly by actually UFO light sightings in that general area. Very famous sightings that have not yet been explained. Seeing those again multiplied by 10 hits a cord. Unlike Contact, where you never see the aliens, Signs doesn't cop-out. Two major scenese show them in detail. Hopefully you're alive to see the second one, because the first one does require extensive therapy to get through in one piece.

    All in all, Signs marks the dawn of a new era in science fiction films. Its a welcome change, a must see, and a movie that will make you think long after the credits roll.

    | copyright, 2004 |