Year: 2002
Studio: Touchstone
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Producer: M Night Shyamalan
Writer: M Night Shyamalan
Cast: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
M Night Shyamalan seems cursed by a common phenomenon, where a first explosive impression onto the scene seems to promise incredible things, but where a career of trying to reach those same heights of brilliance (and failing) ensues.

Former priest Hess (Mel Gibson, in an overstated performance) lives with this brother Merrill (Phoenix) and two young kids (played almost faultlessly by two incredible young actors) on a corn farm targeted by crop circles, like much of the globe. Soon it's apparent an alien invasion is taking place, and as the family battens down the hatches and watches the horror unfold simultaneously on TV and in their own backyard, Shyamalan's brilliance shows through and builds with incredible tension to one of his huge shock endings, but which unfortunately never comes.

Otherwise, everything you expect from cinema's latest master is there in the set pieces, the performances, the tension and the intelligent subject matter, and to focus on aliens invading Earth without there being some big twist seems beneath him.

Satisfying on all other counts however and the first Shyamalan film to introduce plenty of sharp, short flashes of humour.

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