Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Horror Fans Think Signs Should Be Watched Like A Comedy

People took Signs very seriously when it first came out. In 2002, director M. Night Shyamalan had a reputation as someone who made serious films with spine-tingling mysteries that turned into gut-punching twist endings. Signs was no exception, with trailers depicting it as an intense sci-fi horror experience.

The movie was extremely well-regarded when it came out. Film critics treated its story with a certain gravitas, with Roger Ebert calling it "the work of a born filmmaker." Critics kept the plot closely under wraps, refusing to include any information about the existence of the movie's aliens or whether the audience ever gets to see them. 

And while Signs is still generally well-regarded today — with a 67% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes — fans are beginning to view the movie in a new light. Something about the dialogue and the acting is no longer coming off as serious and suspenseful for some viewers. Indeed, many are recommending it be viewed as a different sort of genre film entirely.

Why fans think Signs has a lot to laugh at

In short, some fans are rewatching Signs with a comedic perspective in mind. Moviegoers on the r/horror subreddit gathered to discuss some of the more humorous aspects of the film, which, for the most part, they see as a positive.

"Say what you want about M. Night but I just watched Signs for the first time, and he really nails the comedic elements of his movies," said the original poster. "It reminds me a lot of a Jordan Peele horror movie. Actually scary and actually funny too."

Redditors went on to point out some of the film's funniest moments. Certain lines of dialogues like "everybody in this family needs to calm down, eat some fruit or something" paired with comically timed shots, such as the famous tinfoil hat scene, are just a few examples of moments fans found laughable. They even drew comparisons to the film's parody in Scary Movie 3.

But why would fans find Signs laughable?

The reason some folks find Signs so laughable could be that M. Night Shyamalan is purposefully mixing comedy and horror to his benefit. It wouldn't be the first time filmmakers have done it. The two concepts are almost inextricably linked, as Vulture argues.

Both comedy and horror rely on two things: building suspense and paying it off in a surprising, often subversive way. A standard joke is no more than a setup and a punchline, a moment of suspense before a surprising resolution. The same can be said for a jump scare or any tense moment in a horror.

For that reason, writing good horror can be similar to writing good comedy. So, some aspects of the film could be comedic tools meant to relieve tension and make the characters in the story relatable. Either that or it was all an accident on Shyamalan's part. Given the absurdity of some moments, however, that seems unlikely.