Best Alien Movie Ever

Signs movie still

Go ahead – tell me I’m a traitor for not picking E.T. or Men In Black, or even Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I don’t care. My favorite alien movie ever, in fact one of my favorite movies period, is Signs. I have a very strange, intense fascination with this movie. I could discuss it for hours. I think the subtle plots points that build into the climax of the movie show that M. Night Shyamalan, despite what some critics may say, is a masterful storyteller. If you haven’t seen the movie, first of all shame on you. Secondly, the rest of my post has spoilers.

The beauty of the movie is in the subtleties. At first we have the crop circles, which could be a bunch of punk kids. Then they appear around the world. Then we have the animals acting strangely, which the town vet dismisses as “some kind of virus.” We see our hero Graham (Mel Gibson) get a glimpse of the alien’s leg in the field. Then Merill (Joaquin Phoenix) watches a news report with another glimpse of one of the aliens, this time in grainy black and white.

It all builds and builds. We come to know and relate to the characters – to know their fear and be concerned for their safety. The fear isn’t in seeing the aliens. The fear is the unknown. Not seeing the aliens makes them that much scarier. When we finally do see an alien, our terror doesn’t come from the image of the green, slimy being we’ve been expecting; it’s that the alien is threateningly holding one of our beloved characters.

The most wonderful part of the movie is how it all comes together in the end. There is a reason for everything. Merrill was the home run record-holder because one day he would need to bash some alien brain in. Bo had a weird water-drinking quirk because water is the one thing that will weaken the aliens. Morgan had asthma to protect him from alien poison gas. Everything happens for a reason.

Sure, it doesn’t have the explosions and fancy special effects that most alien movies have. It doesn’t have Will Smith (as two of my other favorite alien movies do – Independence Day and Men In Black). What it does have is a beautiful storyline that ties up all the loose ends. For that, Signs holds a special place in my MovieSnob heart.


  1. Pierre on said:

    I know some people find it hard to believe but “signs” is one the best scifi movies ever made. The atmosphere alone is something rare to be seen…..Favs director….spielberg and Shyamalan. Even the not so great ones for Shyamalan are good intelligently directed movies…Would love to see a sequel!!!POINT FINALE!

  2. Shane Nelson on said:

    First of all, if you haven’t seen the movie signs, This will sound dumb to you. I think that you have a good point. For people that enjoy puzzle pieces in movies(there is a reason for everything), and aliens, you can tie this together and appreciate this as a whole. Im not gonna lie, I think some movies such as independence day and alien are kinda over the top. we spoil ourselves with seeing crap that we would never see in our everyday life. for example, I cant picture people fighting aliens with with crazy lazer guns and discovering them in Atlantis in the core of the earth.(exaggeration)But the movie signs for example takes me into my house were an alien is holding my son in the living room. then, after remembering what my wife said before she died from a car accident, (not a space ship collision) I told my brother to beat the shit out of that thing with a baseball bat instead of using a ray gun. even though there may have been a thing or two that wouldn’t be likely in signs, I would sure as hell watch this movie before I watched the empire state building evaporate from a spaceship. why would that concern me? I don’t even live in New York city! at least signs had a lake I can go to, or even better yet, a pantry door where I can get my ketchup and cereal. “father, I locked one of them in the pantry, after I took my spider web from my wrist and tied him up.” give me a fucking break people. I want to see something that’s gonna make me think instead of Will Smith spoon feeding me generic garbage through my asshole. I want something like the movie signs.

  3. Le Corbusier on said:

    The sole fact that Alien (1979) is not the topic of your discussion is a problem for me. Yes, signs isnt a bad movie but it doesnt hold a candle to Alien. Not only is it the best alien movi, it is the best movie.

  4. Alex Cassell on said:

    They show aliens for a total of about 30 seconds that entire film. This film is barely an alien movie at all.

  5. Katie on said:

    This has to be my favourite alien movie aswell mostly because it’s one of the only ones that don’t have the main characters as the saviours of the day. I mean with all the other movies about aliens and such it has the main characters with big guns and such killing all the aliens but this movie had the main characters fighting only for their lives. It is the best movie!!

  6. Flick4Friday » Blog Archive » Notables from Another Planet on said:

    […] from Movie Snobs must have read my post on M. Night Shyamalan and decided to offer her rebuttal. As you can probably guess, she recommends Signs to satisfy your other worldly […]

  7. Christine on said:

    Thanks, Linda. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  8. Linda on said:

    Signs is a favorite of mine also! Every detail is important, humor used so well to break the tension. I remember sitting curled up in my theater seat waiting for the next shocker! Good choice!

  9. Mike on said:

    Though I know how much you love Signs, I have to say my favorite alien flick has got to be Independence Day. Will Smith is the man.


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