It’s a sad thing about M. Night Shyamalan. I really, really enjoyed both 6th Sense and Unbreakable. Then Signs came out, and Jeff Dee — whose tastes I mostly respect a lot — told me he hated it. He was disgusted by the premise that even horrible tragedies have a purpose, even if the purpose is really obscure and convoluted.
I defended Night as much as I could manage. “No no,” I insisted, “you’ve missed the point of the movie. He wasn’t ADVOCATING this point of view; he was setting up an obviously horrible scenario to show what’s WRONG with the idea.” I tried to make the case that Signs was really pulling a sly reversal, just like Frailty, a movie that I watched just because Jeff recommended it, and which Jeff is convinced that the real message of the movie is a reductio ad absurdum showing that the Old Testament makes no sense as a moral guide.
Anyway, I’m finally convinced that I was completely wrong about Night. He really believes that mystical mumbo-jumbo, and the message of the movie is being played straight.