M. Night Shyamalan has made some sort of a comeback after years of being a punchline, but at this point in his career, he was still doing pretty well. This is probably his most crowd-pleasing movie, the tale of a minister who has lost his faith rediscovering it in the wake of an alien invasion.
Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is that man, living with his former baseball player brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), son Morgan (Rory Culkin) and daughter Bo (Abigail Breslin) on a farm in Bucks County, PA. The death of his wife has caused him to disappear from the world, just in time for ominous crop circles to show up all over the world and right in his cornfield.
In addition, animals begin to turn violent and the family is forced to kill one of their dogs when it turns violent. Then, tall dark figures begin to chase them, similar to a harrowing report of aliens showing up at a child’s birthday party in Mexico City. This scene, shot by M. Night with a cam corder, rank as the best he’s put on the screen.
The family barricades themselves in the house, battling an alien that looks to kill them all. Who knew that the glasses of water that Bo leaves all over house would be used — along with a baseball bat — to destroy that invader? And who could guess that these aliens, who were smart enough to make it to our planet, could be defeated with water? It’s a little too easy, if you ask me.
That said, this movie is filled with suspense. It’s one of my wife Becca’s favorites because as a child, she would often leave drinks all over the house and used this movie as a defense for acting that way.