YMMV / Knowing

  • Memetic Molester: The Strangers. See Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • Narm: The Stranger who came up to Caleb's room seems to want him to pull his finger. Also the vision can be seen as unintentionally funny, especially the moose on fire.
    • The plane crash is pretty over the top, but the best part is where an injured passenger runs up to John, screams in his face and runs off again.
    • Apparently the Strangers all swallowed flashlights, as judged by their mouths opening.
    • And then there's the Strangers' true forms: Giant alien spoons.
    • "You stay away from us, you hear me?! You want some of this?!" (hits a tree with a baseball bat)
    • John decides to show the old school teacher the mysterious sheet of paper. You wonder if the teacher noticed the whisky stain he left on it.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Everyone else.
    • The disasters we witness. For example, the plane crash. Most films go for the flashy initial crash; this film actually bothered to show the immediate aftermath of such an event: Passengers screaming from inside the wreckage, people running, people on fire, people just walking in shock, people trying to crawl through fire to escape what's left of the cabin, burning bodies scattered about...one shot had a bunch of people running from one of the few intact parts of the plane; you think they're safe, then BOOM!! they're enveloped in flames. And in the middle of this horror show, our protagonist, trying desperately to do what little he can to help, until rescue workers finally pull him away.
    John: "I keep seeing their faces...burning..."
    • As described in the main page, the subway crash that occurs is horrifying in its own way. John descends into a subway station and spots a suspicious looking character wandering through the crowd of passengers. He bolts upon noticing he's being followed, at which point John gives chase, closely tailed by police officers. When they finally corner the guy in the lead car... it turns out he was just some petty thief stealing DVD's. John can then only watch in horror as an oncoming subway train derails on a switch, bounces off the wall and is sent tumbling into the station, mowing the crowd down like flies on a windshield and demolishing the stopped train and the station structure. When the chaos finally subsides, all you can hear is the wailing of the mother and baby that John somehow managed to save from the crash, surrounded by the echoes of the wrecked subway cars falling apart around them...
    John: Move back! MOVE BACK!
    • This is capped by the final disaster - the killer flare, though it's not as high-octane as the earlier, personal disasters, the lead-up is incredibly creepy: The glowing night sky and lighting storms, the brown aurora borealis in broad daylight the following day, the sun getting brighter and brighter, the riots and panic, useless EBS alerts over the TV and radio. When the final firestorm comes, it's incredibly fast; nobody, including the protagonist, suffers long once it hits. Perhaps the worst part isn't the depiction of the actual firestorm, but the atmosphere being blown away. If anything survives the scouring by fire, there won't be any atmosphere left to support life. No, the caves wouldn't have saved them.
    • The vision Caleb sees the entire planet on fire, herds of animals fleeing in panic as they burn alive. Holy freaking hell.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The people shaped things watching the kids. Never mind they're supposed to symbolize angels. They are creepy!
  • Shocking Swerve: When the strange, scary people showing up to the children and others turn out in the very end to be benevolent aliens (or angels) who are going to take them away and bring them back later to reseed the planet post-Armageddon.
    • Although the benevolent part is debatable given how at odds it is with their behavior.
  • So Bad, It's Good: This is one of those enjoyably terrible movies that only someone like Nicolas Cage can carry.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Many, lots. Especially near the ending.
    • The people suffering in the plane crash.
    • Perhaps the worst one is John laying on the ground for hours after his son was taken away.
  • Toy Ship: Caleb and Abby. Even the whisperers agree.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: OK, the film was stupid, but the plane crash and the solar flare both look awesome.