Believe the unbelievable
Notes about the movie by John Lundberg
M Night Shyamalan wants people to believe in the unbelievable and so does Linda Moulton Howe. One of the most interesting aspect of the movie for me was how it played out the crop circles / alien visitation myth in such a way that it was believable. The key point in the movie for me was seeing the book that Morgan Hess is using to predict how the alien invasion will develop.
The book he's reading from is a pastiche of Linda Howes "Glimpses of Other Realities", in which she spins out sinister and lurid stories of aliens coming here, mutilating our animals, creating patterns in our crops and harvesting humans for food. Like Shyamalan, she paints the unbelievable as believable. The book in the movie is almost identical to Linda's. The physical size of the book, the high gloss paper it's printed on, the images drawn by witnesses of their alien tormentors and the cover artwork, which is as close to Linda's book as Shyamalan could get without using the real thing.
Linda was asked if her book could be used in the movie, but she declined stating "They wanted to put an image there with murder.., something to do with dark fear. I could not have my book tied in with any wrong information with crop formations." The image she's referring to is the colour drawing that depicted a house identical to the Hess's being attacked by a UFO.
At the heart of the film is a meditation on our need to believe the unbelievable, that's why crop circles and ufos continue to hold the publics fascination and will no doubt do so far far into the forseeable future. Shyamalan could have taken the Linda Howe or Whitley Streiber route, writing a book that represents the crop circles / alien visitation myth as documentary fact, I'm sure he would have gone down a storm on the UFO lecture circuit. But instead he decided to create a beautifully crafted believable work of fiction.
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© John Lundberg / SignsMovie.co.uk 2001