M. Night Shyamalan directs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix and Abigail Breslin in this alien invasion sci-fi siege flick told from one family’s perspective.
Crop circles. Foil hats. Night terrors. A Fortean corker. Minimalist in the very best way, part of the joy is how Shyamalan uses every trick in the book to evade showing you anything too tangible before the denouement. Everyone in the cast and crew is firing on all cylinders but special praise has to go to James Newton Howard’s homage to Bernard Hermann. Hitchcock’s The Birds is as big an influence here as War or the Worlds. You can approach it as a perfectly calibrated shocker. Or as treatise on faith and family. Either take works grandly. Afterwards you feel like you’ve experienced a proper movie, one so literate and enthralling that you don’t feel guilty for whiling away 100 minutes on it at all. It is a pleasure to watch something so confident in just being what it is.
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