Say what you will, I still think this film was pre-Shyamalan meltdown as opposed to the post-meltdown phase everyone lumps it into. Sure, any and all suspense that the bulk of the film built up was completely obliterated at the poorly-done CG alien at the end, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Earlier in the movie when creepy and suspense were still the names of the game, Mel "Not fond of the Jews" Gibson's children are investigating their dog who is freaking the hell out. Once a loving family pet, the dog goes full-Cujo on them and is gearing up to dog-murder the daughter.
Her name is Bo. No, not the dog, the daughter's name is Bo. But that's a stupid name, so I'll call her "Daughter." The dog is flipping out because it can sense the aliens, and for whatever dog-reason it decides to take out that stress on the little girl. Fast forward, her brother (still a young child himself) had to kill the dog with a BBQ fork in order to save his sister. THAT IS NOT FAIR! The dog was warning everyone, doing his dog duty, and he gets killed for it.
I change my mind, M. Night failed us on this one!
It's an entire movie based on the concept of dogs dying. You couldn't get away with that today. What Dreams May Come tried it with humans, and try cracking a smile after watching that somber film. This "children's film" is about a dog that dies, escapes from heaven, and then gambles and steals while having recurring nightmares of going to Dog-Hell. THIS IS A CHILDREN'S FILM!
First off, seeing the main dog Charlie get hit by a car and drown to death the first time is traumatic enough, then seeing his watch (the physical representation of his life) stop ticking and dying again is too much. How anyone could have pitched this movie and gotten any funding is beyond me.
"Hey boss, here's the pitch: we kill a dog a few times, and throw in a literal ticking clock before he goes to Hell. I'll take the money to cash, please?"
Not to mention this movie scared me to tears as a child thanks to the creepy Dog-Hell shadow monster and the much creepier Big-Lipped Alligator Sequence (tm) that precedes it.
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