Cinema as Sermons – Signs


Signs is a 2002 American science fiction horror film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and produced by Shyamalan Signs explores the themes of faith, kinship, and extraterrestrials.

Have you ever seen crop circle? Well a crop circle, crop formation, or corn circle is a pattern created by flattening a crop, usually a cereal crop. The term was first coined in the early 1980s by Colin Andrews. For years, many people claimed they were from UFO’s or some other paranormal event. Eventually some were proved to be hoaxes but many were not. Scientists investigated and stated they were consistent with a man-made hoax. They still occur today though rarely.

Signs is a movie that is about fear in the wind, in the trees, in a dog's bark, in a little girl's reluctance to drink the water. In signs.

There are no forced explanations just a rhythm that carries us through. Shyamalan is a natural born filmmaker, that is a gift and although every movie is not his best, he has a body of work that is excellent.

The genius of Shyamalan in this film is that it isn't about crop circles, or the aliens that created them as navigational aids. The purpose of the film is to evoke pure emotion which it does using skilled acting and direction, and particularly the soundtrack.

Mel Gibson stars as Father Graham Hess, who lives on a farm in Bucks County, Pa. Our knowledge he is a priest comes only belatedly when someone calls him "Father." "It's not 'Father' anymore," he replies. He has two children and is Episcopalian. The story reveals he has lost his faith. The reason for that is revealed midway in the film, a personal tragedy.

Shyamalan males quite movies that require you to ponder and think. In "Signs," he follows Hitchcock and plays the audience like a piano. He gives as little plot as possible and allows as much time and depth for the characters as he can create, all surrounded by an ominous dread. The possibility of aliens is the catalyst for fear, but this family needs none, because it has already suffered a great tragedy.

Foil Hats

Shyamalan creates his cinema world out of everyday objects. A baby monitor that picks up inexplicable sounds or signals. Bo's habit of leaving unfinished glasses of water everywhere becomes a major plot element later in the movie. Morgan's bright idea that caps made from aluminum foil will protect their brains from alien waves. Hess' use of a shiny kitchen knife, not as a weapon, but as a mirror. The worst attack in the film is Morgan's asthma attack, and the trauma as his father tries to talk him through it.

Signs is all about buildup. I hope you get to see it if you haven’t already!

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