Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Signs (2002)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Signs (2002)

In M. Night Shyamalan's scary, intriguing sci-fi horror film about alien visitation upon a family, beginning with the appearance of unusual crop drawings in corn fields:

  • in the awesome opening scene, recently-retired Bucks County Pennsylvania Episcopalian "Father" and emotionally-wounded widower Rev. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) in Doylestown, PA, who had lost his faith (signaled by a shadow of a removed cross on his bedroom wall) was awakened in the early morning hours; a picture in his bedroom revealed that he had been a family man, but had suffered the loss of his wife Colleen (Patricia Kalember) in a horrible traffic accident 6 months earlier; his younger brother Merrill Hess (Joaquin Phoenix), an ex-minor league baseball star (with a tremendously wild baseball swing), had recently moved in to help

Morgan Hess (Rory Culkin)

Bo Hess (Abigail Breslin)
  • Graham rushed outside to find his two dazed children in their cornfield looking at huge mysterious crop circles: his asthma-suffering son Morgan (Rory Culkin) and water-related germaphobe daughter Bo (Abigail Breslin) (who often left half-filled glasses of water in various spots in house); they possibly signified the presence of extra-terrestrial life; although they could have also been produced by vandals as a prank, but Morgan surmised: "I think God did it." [Note: It was later revealed that aliens had created the crop drawings as landing navigational markers, occurring all over the world.]

Bo to Her Father: "Can I have a glass of water?"

Monster "Outside" Seen by Graham on Their Rooftop
  • another late night, Graham was awakened by his daughter who complained about a monster outside her window: "There's a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?"; when Graham looked onto the roof, he did see a dark figure - and he and Merrill tried to chase it but it quickly escaped into the cornfield
  • strange clicking and feedback noises were broadcast from Bo's old baby monitor; Graham responded to the family: "This is why we don’t watch TV"; when he was about to let go of the device, Merrill warned his brother: "You'll lose the signal"; everyone climbed on the roof of the car and held hands to hold the device higher in order to get a stronger signal; Morgan theorized that two aliens had been communicating with each other: "There's two of them talking"; over time, there were more unsettling and fleeting views of unseen figures in the cornfield
  • one evening, Graham conversed with Merrill about two kinds of reactions to an experience - they debated the concept of 'signs' and whether something known as coincidence existed: ("See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"); Merrill responded that he believed in miracles, but Graham remained silent about his own beliefs
  • the next morning in the film's most frightening sequence, before the airing of "genuine" CNN news footage from a celebration of a Brazilian child's 7th birthday party, the commentator warned: "What you're about to see may disturb you." Watching the video playback was Graham's horrified younger brother Merrill Hess, who gave an urgent warning shouted at the TV to the birthday party children: "Move children!! Vamanos!!" The clip showed a brief shot of a green-costumed, humanoid bipedal alien walking past an alley outside the party. Merrill reacted with shock as he covered his mouth in amazement and fell backwards

Merrill Hess Viewing CNN Footage from Brazil and Yelling Out at TV: "Move children! Vamanos!"

Brief Shot of Alien in Alleyway Outside Children's Birthday Party

Merrill's Shocked Reaction
  • later, Graham went to neighbor-veterinarian Ray Reddy's (director Shyamalan with a cameo) house after receiving a phone call; Reddy, who explained how he was responsible for Hess' wife's death, expressed remorse and guilt over the accident, and then speculated with Graham that the aliens who were invading into the area (through crop circles in corn fields) detested water. He also warned Graham that a giant alien was trapped or blocked in his kitchen pantry - and the figure's shadow could be seen moving around under the door; when Graham addressed the creature with a "HELLO," the movement stopped
  • Graham first attempted to impersonate a cop in order to persuade the creature to give itself up: ("The police are here. I am with them. I am a police officer. I just want to talk with you. We know all about the hoax. We already took some of your friends downtown in a paddy wagon. Just tell us your name and why you did it and we'll give you the same deal we gave the others. Don't throw away your life, son")
  • he bent down, knelt, and tried to look under the pantry door (using the reflection of a shiny, large butcher knife that he grabbed from the counter); on a second attempt, the alien grabbed at him; he used the knife to cut off two protruding fingers on the alien's clawed hand reaching out from the underside of the closed door - causing the trapped creature to let out a high-pitched, blood-curdling scream; when threatened with an attack, Graham quickly departed (symbolized by the flight of a large flock of birds)
  • an alien invasion threatened the world, while the Hess family decided to remain in their completely boarded-up and barricaded farmhouse after taking a vote; the family gathered for one final family dinner around the Hess dining room table; in the emotionally-painful sequence, Graham expressed his anger about prayer and refused to say grace and bless the food: ("We're not saying a prayer...We aren't saying a prayer! EAT!..."); Morgan was upset and told his father: "I hate you...You let Mom die"; but Graham doubled-down and lashed out at everyone, singling out his crying daughter Bo: "I am not wasting one more minute of my life on prayer. Not one more minute! Understood?! Now we are going to enjoy this meal. No one is going to stop us from enjoying this meal, so ENJOY IT! Stop crying!"; Graham began to stab at items of food in front of him, until everyone realized that they needed to share a family hug together in the face of such fear and devastation

Family Dinner Table Scene

Angry Graham: "I am not wasting one more minute of my life on prayer"

Family Hug
  • in the living room inside their farmhouse, they feared the worst when they heard their dog's yelps and then silence; they suspected one of the aliens was on their rooftop and breaking into their unprotected attic; they were forced to retreat and take refuge in the basement; after a long night of terror, an attempted attack through the coal chute, and a devastating asthma attack suffered by Morgan (without his inhaler), there were reports that the aliens were retreating and had abruptly abandoned Earth; they learned that the aliens had been expelling a poisonous gas from their wrists that had killed some humans; the family decided to proceed upstairs to retrieve Morgan's asthma medicine
  • in the film's ultimate climax, one stranded, tall greenish alien (the one that had earlier been in the pantry) broke into the Hess household and put the weak and asthmatic Morgan at serious risk by taking him hostage
  • in Graham's most crucial flashback to Colleen's dying words and death (when pinned against a tree as her life slowly ebbed), he suddenly remembered that she had advised Merrill to "swing away" (with his baseball bat) in order to fulfill his dreams of playing baseball
Flashback of Wife's Dying Last Words: "Swing away"
  • Graham considered her advice as a means to save their family, and he ordered his younger brother Merrill, a former semi-pro baseball player, to swing at the alien with his trophy baseball bat on the wall: ("Swing away, Merrill...") ("Tell Graham... see. Tell him to see. And tell Merrill to swing away"); the advice to Graham to "see" referred to his observing a mounted baseball bat in the living room. Merrill grabbed his record-setting baseball bat from the wall and attacked the creature, who had abducted Morgan as a hostage and sprayed him with poisonous cyanide gas from its wrist
  • it was also clear to him that the creature could be weakened and killed by dousings of water (acting like acid on the alien) with Bo's numerous half-filled glasses of water scattered throughout the house; when hit by the bat, the alien released and dropped Morgan to the floor. During the violent struggle, a glass of water (on which the confrontation was reflected) spilled down on the shoulder of the alien (who was revealed to be allergic to water) and ate away at his skin like acid. More swings of the bat (which split in two) and dousings with water eventually killed the alien
The Saving of Son Morgan: Graham's Faith Restored
  • meanwhile, Graham grabbed Morgan, rushed him outside for fresh air, and administered a life-saving injection. Graham received insight that Morgan's debilitating asthma condition actually miraculously prevented him from inhaling the alien's poisonous cyanide gas, and that his wife had been instrumental in saving his family: "That's why he had asthma. It can't be luck. His lungs were closed. His lungs were closed. No poison got in. No poison got in."
  • Graham's faith in God (and his belief in miraculous "signs") was restored when he realized the random and tragic events of his life served a purpose; he saw his son saved - from his wife's prophetic words and the blessing that asthmatic Morgan couldn't inhale the gas with closed-off lungs; soon after, he returned to his clerical duties

Jump-Scare: Rev. Hess Awakening in Middle of Night

Picture of Hess Family Before Wife Colleen's Tragic Death

Hess Found Children In Cornfield with Huge Crop Circles

Aerial View of Huge Crop Circles in Hess's Field

Strange Noises From Old Baby Monitor

Figure Hiding Behind Ray Reddy's Kitchen Pantry Door

Graham Cutting Off Alien's Two Fingers Reaching Out Under Pantry Door

The Trapped Alien in Farmhouse

Asthmatic Son Morgan Hess Threatened by Toxic Alien Gas Sprayed from Alien's Wrist

Final Confrontation Using Baseball Bat Against Alien ("Swing away, Merrill...")

The Alien - Right Shoulder Sizzled by Water

Dousings of Water - Toxic to Aliens


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