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Hey! Can you think of a movie that starts with SI and ends with NGS? Huh? Can ya?

...whattayamean, “Signs”? Yeah, it uses all those letters, but I've never heard of it. Huh...a big hit you say? With Mel Gibson? You're not thinking of that one about William Wallace, are you?

Well, anyway, I'm talking about Silent Warnings, and I'm betting your “Signs” movie isn't about [looks at back of box] aliens making crop circles!

...it is? Really?

And this movie appeared in the Summer of 2002, and was a big hit, you say? Well, this one's got a copyright date of 2003, so I guess it came after...I wonder who thought of which first, though.

OK, I'm kidding, I saw Signs in the theatre and thought it was great. M. Night Shyamalan rocks the hizzouse, man.

However, these is some hope for our item at hand. Most promisingly, it was directed by Christian McIntire, who made Lost Voyage (review of which is to appear “shortly”). While that one never really rose above B territory, it was a pretty solid B with lots of suspense and atmosphere, some good performances, and a sly intelligence. I thought, this McIntire guy bears watching. So, when I saw Silent Warnings, despite the rather, um, familiar nature of the story, I decided to give it a watch.

Of course, one of my flaws is that I don't let the reputation of cast or crew color my opinion of the work at hand. So, this film may well stink on ice. Let's find out together.

Open on a half-moon in the sky, and a dark field and some decent music. A farmhouse, and a kind of redneck guy goes inside (seems a bit drunk) and activates the house's state of the art alarm system. “Cousin, I'm home!” he says, and turns on the lights. He turns and looks off camera. “Soldier, where is your weapon?” He walks over to this guy in a chair, who turns out to be a dummy. No, no, not Billy Zane, a real dummy. He begins abusing said dummy.
He starts drinking, offers a glass to some unseen person but remembers, “Oh, you quit drinking, I forgot.” He then downs both glasses. Wonder if he writes bad movie reviews, too? A video camera observes him. He speaks to it. “It's August, and I've been making some observations about what's been going on, out there, in the corn. And I think that, uh--” He takes another swig.
He looks at the camera. “Damn it, who turned on the video camera again?” He grabs the remote and turns it off. “Cousin!” he yells, and accuses the dummy of playing with the expensive video equipment. “You want reality? I am reality. And I need some more rounds.” He starts making shotgun shells. Then he gets upset and overturns the table.
There are noises on the roof, though, and he jumps in panic. “Cover me, cousin, I'm going in.” He runs up the stairs. “Watch out, Cousin, he's broken out of the attic!”

He fires a few rounds from his shotgun out of camera range, and something emits a thin shriek. He calls to the “Padre” to cover the exit (hm, referencing Mel's character in Signs?). (Sorry, don't mean to point out rip-of...er, hommages.)

He runs back downstairs, and discovers the front screen door clawed open. There's a vague shape in the cornfield, and he fires into it. He then jumps into his truck and drives into said cornfield. There's a shot of (what I assume is another) Cousin-Dummy slumping over and hitting the wheel, a hose under the truck is severed, and Redneck guy seems to “wake up” in the driver's seat. Not sure what caused this little accident, but Redneck guy is soon out of the car and firing at various vague moving shapes in the cornfield.

We get another shot of the hose under the truck, pouring out fluid, while he continues to fire rather drunkenly. How many rounds does a pump-action shotgun hold, anyway?

The fluid catches on fire, he makes one more shot, and the whole truck explodes. Cue the credits. The music (by Rich McHugh) is pretty good, has been throughout, just thought I'd mention it again.

FRIDAY is the heading as the credits end, and we are at Brightwood College. We meet a kind of semi-grungy guy, who greets a dishevelled blonde and a stony bald black guy. “So, I am now an officially degreed electrical engineer,” the grungy guy expositions. They commisserate. “Where's Steven?” “Well, you know how he is.” Electrical Engineer takes this pretty hard and wanders off. Blonde goes up to him.

“Are you still upset about missing graduation?” she asks. “Well, I had to because of the funeral,” he responds. “I'm sorry about your cousin,” she says, and I wonder if she means the guy from the opening bit. ('Member all o' them cousins?) We find out black guy's name is Reese. An SUV shows up and college-looking guy shows up, and he—damn!--introduces everyone in a couple of seconds, including a couple of new gals. Well, he's Steven, let's rewind a bit.

Blonde is Lacey, Engineer is Lane, the two new gals are Zirus and Katrina, and black guy is Maurice (“Reese,” see). He immediately introduces himself to Zirus, who looks like Kirsten Dunst. Katrina is dark haired, like Steven. Reece is sure he's seen Zirus somewhere before, but she's not saying and seems uncomfortable. The fact that these folks were introduced to us in a whirlwind of names doesn't bode too well for most of them, if I know my film clichés. I mean, it's almost as if we're not supposed to care what their names are, you know, like they're not gonna be around long enough, or, you know, something.

Now that we have that out of the way, on to Crystal Lake! Uh, no, not there. With this large and diverse amount of folks, it certainly seemed like a possibility. But they've packed the van up and they're on the road again.

There's some talk about how difficult this is going to be for Lane, and they're all glad to help. They're going to all fix up Cousin's place so Lane can sell it, or whatever. The Sheriff has been helping with the place since Cousin's “accident with his truck.”

More footage of the van driving around the cornfields, and we hear that same sort of clicking speech that the aliens in Signs used...but it turns out to be Reece, doing some Michael Winslow-type stuff. Personally, I think it's kind of clever; my first thought was, Oh, they're really ripping off Signs. Then they turn it into a joke. It's a bit of an “out” joke (it depends on the audience recognition) but it's a nice way for the film-makers to say, Yes, we know what this movie is supposed to remind you of.

Some more character stuff, alas it looks like Reece is going to be our comedy relief. He's pretty annoying at it. They get to Porterville and stop at this fairly huge looking complex. All the time they're making jokes about what hick town this is. Lane points (offscreen) at the hardware store and the super-market, but this town center or whatever it is...it's huge. And very modern-looking, with a pattern-tile floor and such. Hey, this takes place in Oregon. They meet the sheriff, he turns out to be a pretty young guy (it's Billy Zane), and he greets and such with them, casually mentioning about utility poles going down. He indicates Dishevelled Blonde and asks “Is this the young lady your mom was talking about?”

“Yeah...probably,” Lane answers a bit nervously, and Sheriff does a “whoops” type coughing thing and they smile about it. DB looks a bit disconcerted.

Sheriff gives them the keys and the security code for Cousin's house alarm. They all leave, there's a bit of talk, and it's back to the van. The music turns ominous as they go down the dirt road toward Cousin's house. (Like Lost Voyage, the music here is great.)


They get out and approach the fence surrounding the house. There's a sudden jerky swish pan behind them, and they complain about the sudden cold. Also turns out the fence is electrified. They enter the house. It's a mess. Lots of old, rotten food all over the place. DB meets Dummy and panics, and the alarm goes off. Lane resets it. Everyone's pretty revolted at the general rotten food stuff and whatever that's all around. Dark-Hair almost throws up, Zirus is a bit calmer but not happy.


“I don't get it, it doesn't make any sense,” Lane says, I guess apropo the mess. They also note the general abundance of weaponry around the house.


And a title card says “MONDAY.” Our team is busily cleaning the place, sweeping and such. Zirus finds another dummy in a closet and we get a false scare.


Down in the kitchen, Lane and DB are talking, mostly about her lack of cooking skill and his better ability in the kitchen. DB says she'll just have to be a “tremendously successful archeologist” and thus, “have a cook” (for staff). Lane notes that the terms “tremendously successful” and “archeologist” rarely appear together. All in all, it's obviously supposed to fill us in on DB's character and ambitions, but it's pretty nicely done. The actors sell it well. Well also get the bit that DB and Lane are an item. Also nicely done. Suddenly Steve and Dark-Hair burst into the room, saying that the others “have to see this.”


They run out into the corn-field and find a crop-circle. (Actually, it's just a big circular flat place, but anyway.) They talk about it a bit, but Zirus gets “the creeps” and they all leave. We see a brief aerial shot to see that it is, in fact, a circle. Then we cut to the night.


Dark-Hair and Steven are doing a lot of horseplay in bed, blowing raspberries on thighs and such and giggling and so forth. He starts to massage her shoulders. There's some love-talk and teasing and such. She's not sure, but he talks about love and stuff and the guitar music starts. You and I both know where this is going, right? Yes, it does go there. But suddenly there's a noise in the attic, and everyone meets in the hallway, good-naturely accusing the others of making the noises...but the noises continue. Lane dismisses them as “rats, knocking stuff over,” and says he set the alarm, so that if anyone were to—and the alarm goes off. Instead of figuring something is up, they all run down to the kitchen to reset the alarm. Then, they look out the windows, and Dark-Hair says, “Oh my God, it's another one.”


She points out another crop circle, this one really near the house. What about the noises in the attic, though? Seems a tad more immediate to me, guys.


They all run out into the new circle, yelling how “You country people need to get a life!” and such, to show they think it's all a hoax. Dark-Hair doesn't think it's a hoax, though. “How long would it take to do something like this?” There's more discussion about how country folk have a lot of time on their hands (hm, I don't think so, but then, I'm watching a movie so I know who's really behind this crop-circle stuff). Dark-Hair says she doesn't think “people” were responsible, everyone pooh-pooh's this and they all go inside. Lane asks Reese if he wants to walk out into the night, he says sure, and DB says, “Excuse me, you are not leaving me in this crop circle in the middle of the night!”


And we get another title card, “TUESDAY.”


It's morning again, everyone's working on the house, Lane and Steven have just pulled up in the truck with bags of something. Ah! Rat traps. Lane is setting them in the attic, and suddenly Lane looks up for the first time, and notices all the drawings, and specimen jars, and documents and what might be photographs, pinned all over the attic walls. Drawings of aliens, I should add. The standard Greys. Also, some footprints in the dust, including sneakers and some three-toed lizard-like bare feet. Also, some video tapes and books. (Way to not notice your surroundings, Lane.)


Lane watches the video tapes. And, as we probably guessed if we watched the beginning, the tapes are of Cousin, saying that he's sure the “things” are not of this world, and that at first he thought the crop circles were just their way of “having some fun.” He laughs, and then says that he thinks they're some kind of “portal” system. “You see, I got it figured out. They're planning some kind of invasion.” Fast forward, and he says he's put iron around the house, “keeps those bastards at bay.”


Fast forward, and Cousin says, “Guess what? I got one of them—with my shotgun...didn't hardly stop him, though, until he ran into my electrical fence. I cut his freakin' arm off!”

The last entry shows Cousin, pretty angry, saying, “Damn it, who turned on this video camera ag--?” And Lane stops it there. (We all remember that from the beginning, right? Well, here in the technical vastness of the future, we have scroll buttons. Use 'em or lose 'em, soldier!)


WEDNESDAY


It's already dark outside. (Wow, that was a short day!) Anyway, Lane and Steven are pulling shingles off the roof. They notice a bright light off in the distance, in the cornfield, “Coming right toward us!”

“It's okay!” Dark-Hair says, “it's one of them.”


But it turns out to be red-necks in a truck, who throw a beer-can or something at our group, while shouting something not very intelligible (I thought I heard the word “aliens” but I can't be sure). The group throws mud at the truck as it retreats. Reese wonders if the next bit will be a burning cross, Lane says “Not while I'm around.”

“Least we know who's making the damn crop circles,” says Steven, and Dark-Hair says “Yeah? I wouldn't be so sure.” Um, pardon me, lady, you just said as they drove up “It's one of them!” and I for one didn't think you meant the local bowling league. Your psychic powers (I'm guessing) are not really batting 1000.


Lane is going to talk to the sheriff, it should be easy to identify who has “a truck like that.” Steven points out, “I thought they all had trucks like that?” And that's it for Wednesday!


THURSDAY


I'm reminded of the Doctor Who story “Frontios” in which the Doctor (Peter Davison) has been told of the decades of peace between the crash of the ship and the start of the bombardment. “Your unknown invaders are certainly taking their time!” he says in surprise. I'm thinking the same thing here, Monday saw a new crop-circle, Tuesday was a day of reviewing videotapes, Wednesday saw an incursion by the native fauna (red-necks), now we have Thursday...maybe the cable bill will be due! The suspense!

Well, Lane drives into town to see the sheriff. The sheriff is dealing with missing dogs, when he's done, Lane mentions the red-necks, sheriff knows who they are, but Lane doesn't want to start a police action. He then mentions, out in the corn-field, and sheriff completes “...a crop circle?” Lane says yes, then mentions the new one (from MONDAY) and sheriff is surprised about that. He says it's probably not the red-necks, they're not “creative types” and they “probably failed geometry, too.” But he tells Lane not to worry. It's all just pranks.

“So, why'd you tape it [the first crop-circle] off?” asks Lane.

Sheriff says that the night Cousin died, he came into town, he was raving about aliens and stuff, and Sheriff tried and succeeded in talking him down, and bringing him back to his farm, where he (Sheriff) thought he (Cousin) would sleep it off. But he didn't and his truck blew up and Sheriff is still pretty sorry about that. Lane says it wasn't his (Sheriff's) fault. Sheriff gets a phone call, Lane gets up to go, and Sheriff says, “Lane, just because he lost it there, at the end, doesn't mean he wasn't a sane person.” Lane says “OK” and leaves. Me, I kind of think anyone who “lost it” can't really be considered “sane,” but that's probably because I don't have any of those Honest Backwoods Homespun Smarts.


Back to the farm, DB leaves the house to go comfort Lane. Lane talks about how he and Cousin used to have a lot of fun around this old house. “It's strange when you have a memory of somebody, an idea, and you haven't seen them in a while, you revisit it, it's tainted by what people say, or how that person has acted—so, it changes things on how you view that person...I dunno, you know what I mean?”


DB says she does know, she relates a story of her grandma, who came to live with her and her parents. At one point, she started “dressing up” in the middle of the day, and sit on the couch with her purse on her lap, as if she was waiting for someone. DB would ask what she was waiting for, and grandma would say she was waiting for her sister, to come “pick her up, and take her to the picture show.”


“Her sister died back in the '40's,” DB adds. And says that after that, everything got worse. “She never came back. It was like she found some warm, incredible memory to escape to, and she just never came back.”

They are both sorry about each other's loss. And back inside, Steven is watching a sporting event, and Dark-Hair is reading Zirus' tarot. Dark-Hair puts down what looks like a Death card, and Zirus wants to know what it us. “We have to start in the center first,” Dark-Hair says to distract, but Zirus will not be put off.

Dark-Hair hems and haws, says she didn't do it right, and offers to do Zirus's nails. No, that wouldn't have fooled me either, but hey, whatever. They go upstairs, Reece is getting out of the shower, and Zirus confides to Dark-Hair how Reece is kind of “Yummy.” Of course, the walls are paper thin, so Reece is listening to all this good stuff. Reece moves in closer to hear more. He peeks through the damn keyhole, too! Zirus decides she's not up for the nails thing, they say goodnight, and Reece watches Zirus undress while muttering “Take it off...” and the music starts up. She seems to realize he's there, but that doesn't stop the undressing. Until a (humanoid) shadow appears on the window, and Reece bursts in to save her from, um, I'm guessing an alien. Everyone hears her scream, and he has to admit he was looking at her.

Steven seems pretty upset about this, damn angry in fact, and I have to wonder if I missed something...is Zirus his sister or something? Cause he's already interested in Dark-Hair.


I sure as Hell am hoping it's NOT because Reese is black. Cos his comedy-relief duties so far have been pretty lame (ie, not deserving of death).


Anyway, there's more talking, Lane apologizes, Steven kisses Zirus on the head (yeah, kind of brotherly-like) and there's some more talk, and suddenly it's--


FRIDAY


People are working on getting the house all cleaned and such. Steven gives Reece a beer, and apologizes for his behavior. Reece is contrite, but wonders why Zirus won't talk to him. Steven confides that Zirus has “been through a lot.” Lane puts up a “For Sale” sign. He tells Reece and Steven that he's been given a price that's below what the farm should be worth. They're pretty ticked off about this, but Lane is philosophical. They go off to put up the siding, and now it's --


SATURDAY


Either very early (just after midnight) or very late (after the sun's gone down) on Saturday. We see some rustling corn fields, and a POV watches Zirus leave the house and go out into the fields. She walks over to the car to get something out of it (man, it's been a week! What's still in the car?). She lights up a cigarette, but that doesn't do much for her, so she throws it down after a couple of drags. She closes up the truck and walks past...an alien! She screams, it raises its webbed hand and brings it down, and we cut to someone else (Steven) cutting up a squash. He serves it up raw to Lane and DB, while the windows seem to reflect a huge amount of light. Dark-Hair shows up, and asks if anyone has seen Zirus. “Well, she's not in her room and her bed's still made,” Dark-Hair says, and this leads me to believe that what we saw earlier (I'm guessing, Zirus's death) was in the very early hours of Saturday. [Count Floyd] So, a full day of terror still awaits our hapless victims! [/Count Floyd]


The rest wonder if she's “made it up” with Reece and yes, we're both thinking the same thing. But he had the headphones on all night, and didn't notice her leaving. Everyone runs outside, calling for her. Dark-Hair mentions that she might have gone out for a smoke, “she didn't want the rest of you to know she was doing it,” and that she had some cigarettes in her pack, in the truck. (Hence what we just saw, you all.)


They find her pack. But no Zirus. There are some three-toed footprints, too. “They took her,” Dark-Hair says, “in there,” pointing into the corn-fields. Lane asks DB to phone the police, the rest of them search the fields. They smell ozone and find another crop circle (not sure if I've mentioned this, but the ozone scent is one sign—ha ha!--of a crop circle). In the center of this circle, they find Zirus' bracelet. And some “surgical pins.” Steven identifies them, he has “a couple in my wrist” and Zirus “had a few.” He relates how there was an accident with the “team” Steven was with (football, I think), and some folks died, and Zirus and a couple of her friends were with the team, and she had to have several of these pins in her hip. And now they're here, on the ground, outside the body they're supposed to be implanted in.


A zoom out to show our intrepid three in the center of the latest crop circle, accompanied by a musical sting. Now the sheriff's there with some folks apparently taking evidence and sheriff asks if Zirus has ever done anything like this before. One of the guys says she was “pretty depressed after the accident” but never did anything like this. Sheriff can't report this for 24 hours, police policy, etc. Steven's all what about the needles, the footprints, etc? He stalks off in a huff. Sheriff asks Lane if any of the group could be responsible? This gets a musical bit, but Lane is pretty sure no, and so are we, since we saw the alien and everything.

Now it's later that night. Everyone in the group is fairly bummed out, sitting around. Reece says he doesn't know the date, and someone says Sunday, but he meant the day and month. Dark-Hair says it's September 22nd, which is an equinox and also a witches' sabbath. Let's not stir more plot in here, folks. Although an alien witches' sabbath would be an interesting idea. Or maybe a war, between aliens and witches, over who gets to have the humans! Now that's not only a movie, that's a franchise! Wish I'd copyrighted that one, one of you is going to make millions and I won't get a cent.

Back to our film at hand, though. Reece and Steven nearly come to blows, Steven thinks Reece, since he watched her undress...um, must have had something to do with her disappearance. Lane separates them. They discuss the surgical pins, and how they're made of iron. Dark-Hair points out that the whole farm house is surrounded by iron (the fence) and there's iron stuff elsewhere (a horseshoe over the front door). “It wards off bad spirits.” They all sigh, and Lane decides to show them the stuff in the attic.

Cut to Sheriff walking out in the cornfields, he approaches his squad car and grabs the radio. He gets some details about Zirus but hears something in the cornfield. “Hold on a minute,” he says. Figures surround him. He whips out his gun, but something slashes at him. His flashlight drops and goes out--


Back in the attic. Dark-Hair mentions that iron is the enemy of demons, it kills them. DB points out that these are drawings of aliens, not demons, but Dark-Hair says that some people believe they're one and the same. “Same creatures, just different name.” Oh, well, that clears it all up. (By the way, we've added Five Million Years to Earth, aka Quatermass and the Pit, to the mix.)

As they wander around the attic a bit, Dark-Hair removes a cover from a large case, and screams. There's a jar with a pickled alien hand in it, and some other containers that don't get a close-up. Steven thinks it's not real. He looks closer, and the hand twitches at them! Needless to say, everyone runs downstairs, they're ready to get out of there.

Except for Dark-Hair. She wants to stay, she thinks they must be friendly, they're obviously more advanced than we are. Steven points out the claws, and DB says that history is full of advanced societies coming in and wiping out developing ones. No one points out the obvious—Zirus is missing. Dark-Hair agrees, and opens the door—and in pops the sheriff. He's still alive though torn up in spots, and notes that he knocked one of them “flat on his ass.” “What the hell are those things?” he yells, and suddenly all three crop circles start funnelling purple light. (You guys got your cues, great!)

Well, that's the last straw for these folks, so they help Sheriff up and run out the door. Some more purple lights start beaming up around the car, and these tall, rather mean-looking (though that's admittedly unfair) aliens show up and start attacking everyone. Sheriff shoots til he runs out of bullets, the others flee back to the house, except Reece, who runs through the fields. DB becomes hysterical over this, Reece jogs through the corn while shapes keep pace with him on either side. Doesn't look good for you, man.

...nope.

Back to the house. DB is still hysterical, though she seems pretty certain that Reese is dead now. They all spring into action none-the-less, looking for weapons. Dark-Hair finds all the iron things she can and says it's the only thing that will kill them; someone else points out that the whole house was covered in iron when they got there, but they took it all down. To the sheriff's bewildered cries of “Iron?” everyone answers “It's a theory.”

They look outside, and see the aliens standing around the edge of the cornfield. “Why aren't they doing anything?” “Maybe they can't,” answers Dark-Hair. “Why not?” “What do I look like, a Trekkie?” she shouts, and then the lights go out.

That seems to have broken the alien's indecision, they advance on the house. The group all cluster together in the center of the room, guns at the ready. Lane points out that his cousin put iron filings in the shotgun shells, but he doesn't know which shells. “Use all of them,” says Sheriff. Shadows move across the windows. An alien bursts in, and they manage to gun it down.

A word on the effects. The aliens and their purple lights are computer-generated, and, well, look it. The aliens are kept in the shadows for the most part and only shown as briefly as needed, but you can still see the computery-ness pretty clearly.

The effects were also the least convincing part of the other Christian McIntire film I've got, Lost Voyage. Again, what was supposed to be terrifying looked very cartoony, like something from an arcade game. Here, at least, the effects aren't dwelt on overlong, and that helps a lot. Still, thought I'd mention it.

Anyway, Steven goes to poke the dead alien, who of course turns out to be not quite dead, because that is NEVER a good idea. It leaps up and takes more gunfire, and Lane manages a lucky shot square in its face, and it dissolves into fire and bones that quickly disintegrate. If you've seen the Blade films, you know what I'm talking about, the vampires in those films die in the same way.

They decide to board up the windows. While they're busy at that, Dark-Hair and Steven clinch, then another purple light appears and an alien materializes in the middle of the room! Steven rushes it with a fire poker (made of iron), but it ducks, and a circular pattern appears on the floor, with both alien and Steven inside. Everything starts to fade, and Steven reaches outside the circle...and when it disappears, he seems to be cut in half. (I say “seems” because everyone reacts in horror, but we're not shown his fate, other than the poker falling futilely to the floor.) He might have just been transported away. Dark-Hair goes into hysterics, we cut to the moon, and there's a shrouded form on the floor (which may be Steven—man, someone missed an opportunity for a major gore effect on this one (it is rated R after all)). (I should mention I admire the film-makers for this one, the unseen is always scarier than the seen.)

We're in the calm before the storm. Lane and Sheriff discuss what to do. They wonder why they haven't attacked before. “There's something we're missing,” Sheriff says. Lane points out that every time a crop circle appeared, there was the smell of ozone. He thinks they were using the circles to transport themselves, but they were never able to get into the house...until the transformer blew out (when the lights went out earlier). He then mentions the electric fence, and theorizes that electricity jams the aliens' signals so they can't transport back and forth. Sheriff is going to go get the backup generator “in the shed.” Lane wants him to take the shotgun, but Sheriff says “Keep it,” and the music does that minor chord type thing, where you know a character is going to do something brave and foolish that will save them all, but at the cost of his own life. (Music can sure tell you a lot, can't it?)

Sheriff runs to the shed, we see some movement in the fields, DB walks up to Lane and says “I love you,” and they start kissing, and Dark-Hair is framed right next to a big window...but nothing crashes through (yet). She gets up and walks out of the room. She goes over to half-Steven (I'm sure now) and kneels down, and starts crying again. (I won't mention how funny it would be if the guy's name was Nelson.) Sheriff gets the generator going for about two seconds. Lane moves away from DB who, let's be honest here, has picked the worst time for a smooch-fest, but she still looks at him like, What? Is my breath bad?

More movement in the fields as Sheriff tries again. Lane, um, looks at the hairs on his arms and knows they're coming back. (Okay, why not.) An alien appears in the living room next to Dark-Hair just as the Sheriff bursts back into the house. Lane throws him the gun, and after several shells he gets a iron one and the alien flames out. Sheriff yells at Dark-Hair to “move, get out!”

Outside, DB and Lane are running toward the van (which wouldn't start earlier) but Lane runs back to the shed or the barn or something because he needs...something. I couldn't make it out. It sounded like “plans” or “pans” or something. DB is a bit distraught about this, thinking escaping is the good part of what ought to be happening now. Maybe he says “we need to give them a chance” and he's trying the generator again.

Dark-Hair leaves, and as she does, bunches of purple lights start showing up inside. The whole house glows purple from the lights in the windows. “It could be hundreds of them!” Lane shouts. But he manages to get the generator going, and all the aliens are kind of semi-trapped like they're in the transporter from Star Trek. S heriff is still in the house, and he's out of bullets, so he pulls the gas line out of the stove, and his lighter. Just then, the power goes out and the aliens materialize, but he manages to get a light...and the house blows apart.

Now, I hate to be a party-pooper here, but the aliens were shown to have survived gunshot wounds to the head (unless those shots had iron in them), and there was a severed hand in a jar that seemed pretty alive for, um, a severed hand in a jar. So I'm a wee bit skeptical that an explosion is going to deal these guys a final hand. On the other hand, the explosion ended with one of those expanding rings, and then the house collapsed ointo itself and shrank to nothing. So I'll go along with everyone on this, the aliens are gone. They find Dark-Hair, jump into the van and roar out of there.

MONDAY

They turn on the radio, and there's a story about a five-state black-out. Everyone looks ominously at this news. The newscaster goes on to mention there are also reports of attacks by, quote, “strange creatures.” The van moves on across the night, through a thoroughly dark landscape, and we roll credits.

Turns out Zirus' name was “Iris.” Stunts were by Tzatza, and it's not certain that's a person or an organization. Maybe it's famous dadaist Tristan Tzatza! Ha ha, sorry, yes, that was lame. Director McIntire also contributed to the CGI effects.

I have to apologize for referring to all the male characters by their names, and all the women by their hair (Cousin and Sheriff, and Zirus, notwithstanding). It's not meant to diminish them, honestly, but their names were pretty damn generic. I'm not sure I could follow this if I referred to them by name, and since they did contribute more than nudity and nice scenery, I wanted to acknowledge them as distinctively as I could. All the characters, and the actors playing them, did a very credible job. The characters were believable; no one did anything stupid to advance the plot. Kudos to the actors, and the characters.

Anyway, I liked this. That makes two for director Christian McIntire that I liked quite a bit. And I recommend it to you, provided you recognize that it is a rip-off (sorry) of Signs. It's different enough (especially in the latter parts) so that you could enjoy a double feature of the two films, but it does make you wonder, well, it makes me wonder—who is going to see this film? Where's the audience the film-makers are aiming at?

I imagine the conversation at the video store--”Hey, I want to watch 'Signs'! What? They're all rented out? Oh...well, let's watch this, 'Silent Warnings'! It's the same thing, except it's NOT rented out!”

I understand in the grand old days of exploitation cinema, someone like Roger Corman would find out that a big studio was going to do a movie on a certain subject (Jurassic Park, eg) and he would rush to put something similar in theatres or the video store (Carnosaur, eg) just to beat the crowd and, perhaps, siphon away some of those who maybe wanted to see Jurassic Park but couldn't get in that weekend. Or something. Whatever happened, Corman never lost money and never went broke.

Is that what is happening here? I kind of hate to think so. McIntire is a very talented film-maker, with either better CGI or physical effects, this might be a classic to rival Signs. As it is, if it's remembered at all it will be as “that movie that ripped-off Signs,” and that will color it's reputation for...well, forever, I guess. And, derivative as it is, it deserves a much better fate than that. Here's hoping, anyway. Recommended, with the caveat that you're not going to be surprised by what happens (though with an open mind, you'll enjoy it).

Let's get this Christian McIntire guy into some original script territory, though. I would definitely be in line to see that.