With The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan launched himself towards the rarefied realm of directors whose name alone can draw a legion of fans. Of course, one movie alone is not enough to cement someone as a box-office draw, and his follow-up, Unbreakable, while not a bomb, had to be considered a disappointment. Signs is by no means a do-or-die situation, but it may provide some further hints as to where Shyamalan fits into the filmmaker hierarchy.
One thing that is for sure is that, for better or worse, Shyamalan's films contain certain trademarks that make them immediately recognizable as Shyamalan films. We expect a methodically-paced, almost hushed film with a twist at the ending that flips the entire preceding movie on its head. He makes mysteries that aren't who-done-its but rather what-is-its, where the audience is beckoned to figure out the twist.
The trailer for Signs gives the impression that it basically sticks to these trademarks. In this case, the mystery apparently revolves around the meaning of crop circles. The part of the stoic male lead is now being played by Mel Gibson, and the precocious child this time is played by Rory Culkin. The trailer and the very title of the film indicate that the crop circles are some sort of sign; a sign of what you'll likely have to wait until the last 15 minutes of the film to find out.
The late summer release date for Signs seems to be an attempt to recapture the magic of The Sixth Sense. While the extraordinary box-office performance of that movie is likely out of reach, Signs looks to be more accessible than Unbreakable. (Calvin Trager/BOP)
July 17, 2002
The buzz for Signs is picking up as the release date draws closer. In a
case of classic synergy, M. Night Shyamalan is hosting "M. Night Shyamalan's
Signs of Fear," a one hour special on ABC. (ABC and Buena Vista are both
owned by Disney, of course). The special, to air July 22nd, details ten
cases of individuals faced with fear and how it affected their lives.
Additionally, a crop circle, complete with Mickey Mouse ears, has appeared
in England. Circles have also shown up in Unterehrendingen, Switzerland, Oregon and France. (Calvin Trager/BOP)