Just got back from seeing Signs. Go see it!
It has been a long time since I actually screamed watching a scary movie. The
best part was that as I watched I kept thinking about one particularly scary
moment where I imagine my sister ripping off her boyfriend’s thumb in the movie
theatre (handholding has had to be downgraded to thumb-holding to spare his
limb) or when mom and dad watch it on video at home in a few months and mom
will gasp and dad will say, ‘Oh, Diane!’
Signs was an expertly crafted film – it had the great sense of building
doom – sort of like The Birds or in the early half of The Blair Witch
Project (before it descended into running through the woods screaming ‘Josh!
Josh! What the fuck was that? What the fuck was that?!’). It’s a careful equation
of slowly amping up the dread and letting the situation the characters are in
fester and worsen… and the delay in letting the audience know what was really
going on. I will never forget all the theory on suspense that I read when I
was in my Hitchcock fiend days… that suspense is infinitely more powerful
than shock – especially with repeated viewings.
But yes, at a certain point in the film I actually jumped about a foot high
and yelled, ‘Oh my God!’ I still get chills thinking about the film. It’s been
a long time since a movie has chilled me like that – sort of like when you got
out of The Silence of the Lambs and you perceived the world differently
for a few hours (this happened to me for weeks when I first saw The Matrix). Or after Leland throws Maddy through a mirror in Twin Peaks (I couldn’t look in a mirror for week). It definitely goes between Alien and The Others as top scare-your-nuts-off
My scalp is still tingling.