Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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It doesn't get scarier than this

Creepy. Horrifying. Wonderful. That's Signs. But it's not for the faint of heart.

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published August 5, 2002

Movie: Signs

  • Rating: PG-13
[Photo: Touchstone Pictures]
Joaquin Phoenix, left and Mel Gibson see the Signs.

Summary: Father Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is a reverend in a small town outside of Philadelphia who left his church when his wife died in a car accident and he lost his faith. He now lives on the family farm with his brother, Merrill, (Joaquin Phoenix) and his two children, Bo and Morgan (Abigail Breslin and Rory Culkin). Strange things begin to happen when the family discovers a large crop circle in their cornfield. This story is about the family's fight for survival and the ultimate test of Graham's faith.

My view: The only word that accurately describes Signs is "creepy!!!" I don't think I've seen a horror flick that thoroughly scared me -- until now. My heart rate was racing for the majority of this movie. It was just flat-out scary. The acting was incredibly convincing. In most films of this nature, you can tell the actors are just putting on to make you think they're scared, but in this one, each and every member of the cast looked genuinely frightened. The plot was rock solid and mesmerized me from start to finish.

Favorite part: The "fear of the unknown" approach that the makers of this film used worked better than any movie in this genre I have seen.

Recommendations: This movie shows all the signs of being a big hit. Anyone who's up for a good scare and an all-around great movie will love this. The PG-13 rating is definitely appropriate because of the frightening scenes that could cause nightmares!

Grade: A+

- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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