Signs is an M Night Shyamalan film from 2002.
10 out of 10 stars. This is one of my favorite films and it’s on HBO this month.
Graham and Colleen Hess are Pennsylvania farmers about an hour’s drive outside of Philadelphia. Graham is also the local pastor. They have a son Morgan who’s about ten and a daughter Bo who’s about six. Graham has a younger brother Merrill who’s a semi-professional baseball player with five world records. This is a happy family then one night Colleen is walking before dinner when the local vet, Ray Reddy, drives by. He falls asleep at the wheel and hits Colleen, pinning her against a tree. The Sheriff gets Graham there seconds before Colleen dies and she gives Graham an odd message that doesn’t make sense until the last 10 minutes of the film. The Hess’s also have two German shepherds.
After Colleen’s death, Merrill quits his ball-playing job and comes to live with Graham and the kids. Graham stops being the local pastor and now hates God. And Morgan blames his dad for his mom’s death.
The film opens with Graham and Merrill waking to the sound of dogs barking. They run outside (it’s morning) and go into the cornfield where they find the dogs. An entire cornfield is filled with crop circles. Graham calls the Sheriff and she comes out. She tells him he’s not alone. Weird things have been going on all over the county. And while she’s there one of the dogs pees in the kitchen out of fear and the other dog lunges at Bo so Morgan has to kill him.
When they go to town Morgan buys a book on aliens and uses Bo’s baby monitor to receive any radio transmissions. Through that baby monitor they hear aliens speaking to each other, but Graham refuses to believe.
That night Bo wakes up and goes to Graham’s room. She tells him there’s a monster outside her room and she’d like a glass of water. Like most parents Graham assumes she had a bad dream until he gets her a glass of water and sits on her bed with her. When he takes a look outside the window there is indeed a monster on the roof outside her window.
Graham wakes Merrill and they run around the house yelling, assuming the figure on the roof was one the neighborhood pranksters. It’s not. The following day they report it to the Sheriff who tells them a woman came into town and then almost immediately disappeared.
That evening the dog barks and goes nuts at something in the cornfield. Graham goes to investigate and sees part of a gray alien. When he comes inside he tells Merrill and the kids to turn on the television and what they see is frightening. Alien ships are appearing in the sky all over the world but the aliens are camouflaged like chameleons. Then the ships disappear but they’re still there. Birds fly into them and fall to the ground with crushed skulls.
The next day Graham gets a call from Ray Reddy and then he abruptly hangs up. When he goes to Ray’s house Ray is in his pickup with his things packed and ready to leave. He tells Graham he’s sorry he hit Colleen and that there’s an alien in his pantry. Then he drives off. Graham goes inside the house and tries to see under the pantry door when an alien’s hand reaches out for him. He cuts the alien’s fingers off and runs out, driving home.
As each new event occurs it becomes obvious that aliens are invading earth.
This is one of the best written screenplays. The timing is perfect. The story grabs you from the first minute and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I love that they actually show you the aliens too.
10 out of 10 stars. One of my favorite films.