I have a question about the movie "Signs" (2002) by M. Night Shyamalan, that bothers me for quite some time now.

For me, there is no sign (no pun intended), that the aliens are evil in any way. As far as I can see, they do not kill or hurt anyone deliberately. On the contrary: We only see humans hurting and killing the aliens.

Also, in every plot summary, it is noted, that one alien tries to poison Morgan. To quote Wikipedia, for example:

Merrill attacks the alien but not before it attempts to poison Morgan by spraying him with a toxin from its body.

But how do we know that this spray is really poison? Couldn't it be a remedy for Morgan's asthma?

So why do plot summaries assume, that the aliens are hostile? Is there any evidence?

  • 4
    Good question. Also the environment is not entirely safe for the aliens, and they still came here
    – Luciano
    Apr 14, 2017 at 14:52
  • 1
    I seem to remember a news report within the movie of a toxin spraying out of the aliens' fingers. But your question is excellent. Apr 14, 2017 at 18:10
  • If you remember at the end of the movie, Morgan still couldn't breathe even after the alien sprayed the"poison". Graham still had to give him his shot to open his airway. So, I am pretty sure that it wasn't asthma remedy. Also, wasn't there a quote in the film actually saying that they were hostile? Apr 14, 2017 at 18:36
  • Yes, there were quotes, as mentioned in the answer by @dvaeg, but these are remarks by humans (which do not need to be utterly true) and not based on what we can actually see. I'm not sure if Graham's shot afterwards was really neccessary and it still seems a bit strange to me, that these aliens with their advanced space travel technology don't have anything better to do than trying to poison little boys.
    – Sebastian
    Apr 16, 2017 at 21:01
  • 1
    I do not think that they were hostile. Graham had previously cut off that aliens finger. I think that it was scared and it didn't release the gas until after it was attacked. Also, remember that its from another planet. its not familiar with human anatomy. It might have been a remedy for the alien species. That's just my theory about the gas.
    – Wizard07
    Nov 20, 2018 at 17:25

3 Answers 3


Hm, while I don't think the film presents enough evidence to say that the aliens were evil, they definitely seemed aggressive - which justifies the Mel Gibson's family in defending themselves.

Throughout the last quarter of the movie the aliens are trying to get into their house and into the room that they are hiding in. This is an aggressive and arguably hostile act. If the attempted invaders were human you would probably call the police and I'm sure some people would feel threatened enough to shoot.

That said, it's unclear what the intentions of the aliens were. You could argue that they had no concept of personal property or something along those lines and therefore did not see their actions as warranting suspicion. If you go that route, you could rationalize practically anything I suppose.


This is directly addressed at around the 1 hour 15 minute mark. After turning off the flashlights in the basement, there's a brief flashback to the death of Graham's wife. Then, as he wakes up the next morning the radio is on. A voice is heard:

People think they came here to take over the planet, that's bull. I don't think that. My friend and I saw them...they poisoned his family and dragged them away. Nobody believes me but they didn't come for the planet, this is a raid they came here for us.. to harvest us.

Merrill then explains:

They say they had poison gas they secrete in small amounts, a lotta people died.


I would jump and say they were evil. They seemed to enjoy terrorizing others. The aliens had a demonic tone to them. This was no typical sci-fi movie. In fact, even predators are just doing what is natural to them. Instead they came off as rather evil. And even if we take that alone, an alien hand tries to grab Morgan, an alien hand reaches for Graham in what appears to be an attempt to hurt him. In fact an alien tries to scare Graham so much that he drops his flash light and does his trilling sound in a creepy way. They try to break into the house, which is hostile. So yes they're evil and hostile.

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