Is M. Night Shyamalan's crisis-of-faith movie Signs even about aliens? Are there even aliens in it? Was it really so "cheesy" that they were killed by water? Someone out there has made a pretty damn good case that what we think the creatures in the film are might be all wrong.
M. Night Shyamalan may have fallen upon hard times lately, but there are still some of us who consider some of his films to be, not only smart, but seminal genre pieces. As a writer his work is always extremely thought out, the symbols and allusions embedded within all pieces of a complex character puzzle. Certainly Signs and The Village prove this which is why they have always ranked among some of my favourite films.
But what if we were all duped by the very nature of Signs?
Let this theory blow your mind:
When I first saw this film, I didn't realize that it wasn't about aliens at all. It's about the return of demons. Notice it's all about a priest's resurgence of belief, and a preordained moment of redemption-if-dared-and-attempted. There is no alien technology or weaponry or clothing of any kind, only a clawed, naked beast creature and lights in the sky.
Furthermore: The running joke throughout the movie is that people see these "invaders" in a way that's related to their particular frame of mind: The cop sees them as prankster kids, the bookstore owners see them as "a hoax to sell commercials," the Army recruitment officer sees them as invading military, the kids see them as UFOs... and the Priest sees them as test of faith. This understanding of the film removed my hatred of the "You've got to be kidding me; they were killed by WATER!" concept. In fact, the priest's daughter had been referred to as "holy" (as revealed during Mel's key monologue)–recognized by all who saw her at her birth as "an Angel;" and her quite particular relationship to water is shown to be very special and spiritual: In other words, she has placed vials of what are, essentially, HOLY WATER all around the house. (And the creature's reaction when coming in contact with this blessed liquid is EXACTLY like monsters/vampires being splashed by spiritual "acid.")
This view of the movie also explains the creature's actions: They act like superior tricksters, are not able to break in through closed doors, can be trapped behind simple wooden latches –all mythological elements of demons and vampire-like creatures of lore. It also explains the news over the radio at the end of the movie that an ancient method of killing the creatures has been found "in three small cities in the Middle East" - one would suspect the religious "hubs" of the three main Abrahamic traditions, each discovering the "mystic methods" of protection-and-dispatch that I’ve noted earlier.
Note also: All the Christian iconography throughout the movie, the references to "Signs and Wonders" (the true meaning of the title), the crucifix shapes hinted-at everywhere (check out the overhead shot, looking down on the street driving into town) and the ultimate fact that the entire movie is built around a Priest rediscovering he is not abandoned to a random, Godless, scientifically-oriented Universe but, rather, is part of a predicted and dreamed-of plan.
Now –these creatures may for all intents and purposes be some sort of extraterrestrial or inter-dimensional "aliens" –but the point of the movie seems to be that they are, in the ACTUALITY OF THE FILM WORLD, the dark stuff from which all the character’s tales of devils and night-creatures were born.
So there you have it. This theory that the visitors in Signs are not aliens in the sci-fi sense that we're used to is fascinating to me. The theorizer makes a good case when pointing out how all the references and symbols point to religion and that the usual bric a brac of alien invasion movies seems oddly left out of the film. Of course, Shyamalan likes to strip all that stuff away in general, but I like this theory a lot.
What do you think?
The Aliens are really demons. They're killed with Holy Water LINK
This post was edited on 1/27 at 10:17 am