Director: Manoj Night Shyamalan
The Newsweek cover heralded him as the next Steven Spielberg. If Signs is any indication, the magazine seems to have stuck its neck out rather hastily. After the self-assured and engrossing Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, Shyamalan's latest proves to be a huge artistic disappointment, its success at the US box-office notwithstanding.
In keeping with his trademark style, Shyamalan tries to create an eerie mood with foreboding images—the stark, still garden, rustling fields, the gently moving swing seat, the shadowy figure on the rooftop, and the ominous quiet punctured by the loud bark of a dog. He underscores the lingering sense of menace with sudden jolts—a rather musty, moth-ridden way of evoking fear. That too for no end because there is no great suspense or surprise at the heart of these dark atmospherics. For a...