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The Signal Movie Explained - or how this mindjob hacker movie is way more than you ever imagined it could be. IMDB
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I have been talking about the movie The Signal for months now.  The moment it hit Sundance and made an enormous splash I was ready to see it.  The trailer looked epic.  Fishburne looked awesome.  The movie seemed to carry some tricky sort of malevolence deep inside it.  The trailer seemed to have two different strains of truth occurring simultaneously… we have a love story and we also have this psycho-warfare strain.  And from a distance, the two were very difficult to reconcile.  But that was before watching the movie and seeing the two disparate strains seamlessly integrate and become one.

But before I go any further, this is a spoiler laden, no holds barred discussion of a really worth while movie.  Don’t waste the movie experience by reading this walk through. Because that’s what this article will do if you haven’t seen it already.  So – stop.  Turn around.  And find a copy to watch today.  I think I’ve even placed a handy Amazon link right there, click that, rent it a baker’s dozen, and support THiNC. along the way!!

The Signal Plot Overview

When the curtain rises on The Signal we are introduced to Nic and Haley, a couple who until recently, attended MIT together.  We also meet Jonah, the best friend of both Nic and Haley.  The three of them are on a trip heading to California where Haley is moving for a year.  The couple are obviously a bit on the rocks because of Haley’s decision to move to California.  But Nic won’t talk about it at all.  He’s begun to shut Hailey out and is obviously beginning to move on.

It is during the beginning of their trip to drop off Hailey that they begin to get annoying messages from a hacker named Nomad.  The messages quickly begin escalating in intensity as Nomad hacks Hailey’s laptop and sends them video of themselves in the hotel.  Later Nomad sends hack photos of their car on their commute to prove how good he is and to take it up yet another notch.  It is then that Nic and Jonah decide that they are going to go and pay Nomad a visit in Utah to prove they are able to trace him and tell him to dial this chaos down.  In an interview with iO9, director, William Eubank, stated that he really loved Catfish (Which I highlighted in my list of best documentaries) and the way they searched until they came to this random farm house.  But then it was very mundane in Eubank’s opinion.  So he decided to take that idea and blow it up.

And blow it up he did. Once Nic, Jonah and Hailey arrive at the house all hell breaks loose and the world turns completely upside down for the trio.  Nic finds himself recovering in an old school lab type government facility.  Occasionally Damon (Fishburne) would arrive and interview Nic and have him do fairly inane scientific experiments.  Nic only wanted to know where Hailey and Jonah were.  And Nic wouldn’t suffer Damon’s inanity.  Nic wanted to know what was going on and he was going to stop at nothing to figure it all out…

I love this quote from Entropy mag on the movie which is very apropos to this need to figure it all out: “We’re trained throughout to doubt what we see, to question whether everything is as it seems. As the protagonist, Nic, becomes increasingly anxious, we might wonder if everyone else is insane, or if he is. Countless possible explanations run through our head, and a video that provides “evidence” of an alien (complete in the stereotypical look of a “little green man”), push us in one very obvious direction. And the ending we’re waiting for doesn’t exist because we’re not asking the right questions. Yet. In fact, qualities of The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits are present here.”

The Signal Movie Explained

Easy Questions About the movie The Signal

Alright before we start talking about the movie in more detail and at a greater complexity – let’s talk about some of the simpler questions I’ve already heard people raise when it comes to this movie:

Question #1 – What is this Signal?  I didn’t hear any signal in the movie?!

In the trailer, which you can see here if you are interested, there was a definite mention of a signal – a sound – that could be heard by a few select individuals.  But in the movie, there is no such dialogue.  No narrator saying that some hear The Signal and some don’t.  So if there is no actual Signal, then what is the title of the movie all about?  Well, I personally think that ‘The Signal’ indicated in the movie is the trap and the tractor beam that draws Nic and Jonah, two hackers trying to trap another fellow hacker (Nomad) and expose him at a hacking conference.  Apparently, Damon (or Nomad, better known as Laurence Fishburne) likes his test subjects to be super intelligent.  William Eubank, the writer/director of The Signal, has confirmed that the reason he named the movie The Signal was because the signal in the movie is something the two hackers are searching for.

Question #2 – Wait, we see Nic running… and then on crutches, and then robotic legs? Which is it?  And why did he need those crutches?

This one is easy to miss.  The flashbacks are when we see Jonah and Nic running perfectly fine.  Nic on crutches is present day.  And we hear that Nic has come down with a degenerative disease that is slowly making his legs fail.  It is only at the “Area 51” facility that we see that he’s been given new transplant legs.  It is these uber new legs that help unveil the true location they are housed in.  But we’ll get to that in due time.  Good things come to those who wait.

Question #3 – When was the movie based?  Present day, or 1952?  We are presented with both eras simultaneously.  I mean, TAPE CASSETTES? SERIOUSLY?  Which is it?

The movie is set in a modern era.  A lot of the tech jargon came from Eubank, who enjoyed wardriving as a younger kid.  (Wardriving is a method of driving around neighborhoods and finding wi-fi networks to hack.)  He also attended DEF CON with his friends and competed as a hacker there hoping for great geek prestige amongst his peers.  So yeah, this is a modern time period with cell phones, wi-fi, internets, etc.  It all goes sideways (in more ways than one, but primarily from a eschatological sense) after Jonah and Nic wake up in the science facility.  Area 51, or what have you.  It is then that we see land line telephones, cassette recorders, and old architectural sensibilities straight out of the 50’s.  When asked about the dated scenes Eubank answered ““I’ve been to facilities, whether it’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, or NASA facilities [where] there’s parts of them that architecturally are still in that time.”  I personally think that it is very discombobulating to skip from one modern aesthetic to this backwards world.  And Nic obviously thinks so too seeing as though he found the whole situation pretty laughable.  Eubank went on to comment that he “thought filling it with old tech was a way to populate a possible misdirect.”

Question #4 – I don’t understand what the deal is about the red briefcase that Fishburne carries around at critical moments in the movie?

The briefcase contains a gun.  What’s there to get?  Right, it is presented by Damon as being something more.  But alas, it’s just a gun, an ominous scary gun, but just a gun all the same.  The red brief case is just signifying the end of the line for the test subject.

Question #5 – Why were the people that Jonah and Nic encounter so completely mentally scrambled?

The total mental mind jobs that they meet, after they leave the facility, are previous test subjects.  They are the left over detritus of previous experiments.  WAIT WHAT?!  Right. Let’s move on to the next stage of the conversation.


The movie is disorienting throughout.  So much so that its difficult to catch one’s bearings.  But, at the completion, things make more sense.  Or at least they should make more sense than they did in the midst of the first viewing.  I personally thought that the ending was expected and the only natural solution to what we had witnessed.  But others I have met still didn’t understand the ending at the end of the day.  So, I am going to give you three theories of what happened in The Signal, three possible explanations that could account for everything we’ve seen… some with better results, others with lesser.


This theory is basically just a perspective on the grief that Nic is going through with his illness.  But for this theory to make any sense we have to understand exactly what is going on with Nic physically.  At some point Nic was a runner, a cross country runner, and possibly very good at that.  Then, we learn that Nic has a degenerative muscle disease that has caused his legs to fail.  When we meet him he is still trying to mentally come to terms with these facts.  Thus the mental wall he is putting up with his girlfriend.

The Signal in this view is 100% based around Nic and this internal struggle that he is going through.  He is trying to figure out what to do with his life.  His girlfriend is potentially breaking up with him.  His legs have failed him.  Life is crumbling around him.  At the point Nic arrives at the shack he is mentally unhinged and just trying to reevaluate his life.  But ultimately in this interpretation, everything we see is just an internal dialogue about his struggles and battles with this new reality.  Thus the god/hero complex issues and the super hero legs.  Thus the gun battles and craziness that brings the movie to some meaning for him and his psychological struggle.


I have intentionally named this view after a fairly popular religious novel “The Shack”… heh.  Maybe that confuses matters unnecessarily?  But in this view it is simply explained. Everything before the Shack and the arrival at the Signal is real.  Everything AFTER the Shack is not.  Yes?  Good.  So when they step into the Shack, they never actually come out.  There is no test facility.  There is no mental humans with eerie revivalist leanings.  There are no gun battles.  Well there are, but they are all in their heads.

Why though?  The answer could be as simple as Nomad.  Maybe Nomad has hit them with an LSD bomb in the house?  Maybe they have tripped across a war unit test facility not too unlike Jacob’s Ladder.  (Sorry if I just ruined that movie for you, but its old, man.  You missed your opportunity.)  Or possibly Nic was just in the process of dying there in the shack (Again, like Jacob’s Ladder… To REALLY ruin Jacob’s Ladder for you.)  But this theory is a very psychotropic exercise – a possibly drug induced experience for Nic and Jonah.  I mean, Jonah?!  He spent three days in the belly of a whale?  What more do you want?


In this theory, what we see and experience is exactly as it happens.  As mind-bendingly strange as it is.  I’ll walk you through it in a timeline view:

  1. Nic is a cross country runner
  2. Nic & Jonah are accomplished hackers
  3. Nic & Jonah are driving Haley out to her school
  4. On the way across country they get whiffs of a signal of a hacker they’ve been competing with
  5. They follow the signal to a shack in the middle of the night
  6. Wake up in a science laboratory
  7. Nic wakes up with robotic legs
  8. Nomad or Damon, begins testing Nic for information
  9. Nic begins planning for an eventual escape
  10. Eventually Nic gets his friends and himself out
  11. But everything on the outside is not as it seems
  12. Other humans are mentally unstable
  13. Seems like they are in some sort of game park, or cordoned off space
  14. They eventually fight their way out past the guards
  15. Nic uses his robotic legs to break through the outer barrier
  16. And that is when we learn that they are on an alien spaceship

Seeing the ending of this movie makes it all clear that everything that has been going on (in the Literal View theory) has been about Aliens learning more about humans.  It would seem that Nomad wants to study the best of the best and is always looking for something important.  A weakness maybe?  Whatever it is he is trying to grasp some deep understanding of the human condition.  That is the point of the movie from this perspective.  That is the explanation of all the weirdness going on all around them.

Overall Takeaways

Eubank has stated unequivocally that Nic is an unreliable narrator.  Take for example Nic’s girlfriend Haley.  Why is she such a damsel in distress?  Eubank says, “I am a big fan of movies that are told from one perspective, like Chinatown,” We hardly get past Nick’s perspective, even though a few scenes are from other POVs. And to Nick, Haley is sort of “a symbol of what he cares about,” and a part of himself that he wants to protect. “She is a source of everything that happens to him.”  Watching closely though, there are many hints that a lot more is going on with her than Nick really notices.  So much so, that Eubank has said that if he gets to do a sequel to The Signal, he would love to explore many of the details he buried throughout this movie that he did not get a chance to dig into the first time around.  Some of the most important having to do with Haley.

So we know for SURE that there is a lot more going on in this movie than initially meets the eye.  I personally am a fan of first theory because it brings to the forefront a lot of the character development that Nic is beginning to undergo when we first meet him.  The shutting down, the coldness, the “I CAN DO IT”… and also the “I can’t do it” things we see.  I thought that was a huge part of this movie, watching him respond to the world around him and try and respond to this new trauma in his life.  But any particular theory works really.

What were your takeaways from The Signal?  Maybe I’m missing a theory entirely?  Stranger things have happened that is for sure!  hahah.  Share them with us in the comments.

Edited by, CY

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170 Responses

  1. Jostein

    I would say Eubank is on to something considering the whole story, but it’s lacking a lot compared to the best sci-fi movies. Any movie you would try to explain with such diverse theorys as the author of this article does don’t meet my criteria for a good mindtwist-movie. As I said, I liked the story, but it could have had more hints to what exactly was going on. I had some suspicions to this already when I saw the length of it being just 1h 37m, and I guess I was right.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Jostein,
      I agree, it isn’t one of the greats. I enjoyed it. But unlike you I think I saw it coming. The weirdness going on everywhere couldn’t be explained simply enough (drugs, normal lab, psychosis, etc). So I think I had a pretty good clue as to the alien piece going in. Fishburn was way too curious about the way the characters thought (at a basic child level) and how they acted for it really to be anything else. But I believe that explanations that move outside of the given story itself are generally more of a failure than otherwise. Right? Jacobs ladder worked because the movie was rife with clues that he was dead. But Interstellar failed (if the plot given at face value is to be trusted) by explaining the solution as a fifth dimensional intervention.

      So this movie is iffy in that it punches outside of the given plot line and gives us an alien answer that seems a stretch. But I personally had a feeling it was too much like Dark City for it to not be coincidental. But that’s just me. But I really loved the aesthetic here. Everything about it was awesome. My take anyway.

      • Mason

        1)Cows are destroying our planet (anyone see Cowspiracy?) As onlookers, they are analyzing them to see why humans are so interested in beef.

        2)The pen not working could have something to do with the gravity of wherever they are located.

        3)Didn’t Haley throw that necklace into a canyon?

        4)If Damon was robotic, then we can assume that they could have pulled the plug on the whole operation at anytime. Nick passed his test, that’s all. That could be the sole reason why an advanced civilization decides to keep us around instead of simply destroying us. Observing also how their tech would work on Earth, just in case they decide to colonize.

        5)And just a word of advice for the trolly commenters that made it this far and offered nothing for anyone else to ponder…Nomad f***ing owns you! Keep eating burgers full of mind-control and never change. They have you right where they want you…You should probably wise up and make your own film.

        6)Taylor, keep up the real work!

      • Susie

        My question was when he showed Nic the video and said , that was no hacker that sent the signal . Nic looked and we’d seen the trees in the moonlight before .. Were we supposed to see something ?
        Lastly , Was nomad directly and specifically trying to lure Nic to them ?
        Why kill his friends ? They were 3 highly intelligent subjects … I found it to be an intriguing movie which I like .. Movies with no easy answers . Thanks for your evaluation .. You do clear up some of the larger questions.

      • flate eath belivers

        I dont want to talk alot but i believe it had something to do also with the believe of some that the earth is actually flate covered by this force that keeps us inside. this force is expressed in the movie as this glass that Nic breaks out of at the end. i really liked this movies because the ending of the movie is actually a perfection of what we believe in. in another words the writer didnt really write the end?! (he never really explained to us what ReaLly was happening or or happened at the end. he never really told us what the movie was about. it was more like a template and we as the viewers just filled in the blank with the projection that we project from live in our own perspective.). the end was more like a well made puzzle/question that no one correct answer existe but a select few that no matter which one u decide to use, the answer will still be correct and everything will still make sense. so ah yeah the meaning of the end was just a refletion of what we perceive to be true!! something in dat sence im tired man lol!!!

      • Bridget Byrne

        I just saw The Signal today and greatly enjoyed your article and the comments.

        I think that the signal is a lure leading to a trap and the signal may be different for each person. ‘They’ may invite you, but are not above taking advantage of opportunities.

        Nic’s story is one of overcoming limitations, both the external of his disease progression and the internal of giving up on love and the future. In his flashbacks, he keeps seeing an impenetrable barrier- the bridge he does not cross. In the arc of his story, he overcomes all and breaks the literal barrier of false reality- yet I do not think aliens/ robots/ evil humans care at all about this journey of his, it is incidental.

        It would be nice to imagine there was meaning in it, some benevolent or purposeful reason for it beyond how the characters rise to the occasion, but I don’t see it.

        The why is more like the fishbowl or the crane game. Aliens, or evil scientists do not need to abduct people to understand how they react to stress any longer, they don’t need to create quadrillion dollar virtual reality environments to learn about us, we hide nothing.

        It could be a theme park like Westworld or a reality show for beings we don’t understand. Why have humanoids in spacesuits? Why not, if it discombobulates the characters? Why not offer a cow? Maybe each room we see in the facility offers watchers a different story.

        It seems the characters were always meant to get away. Are they so inept, they lost track of the friend in a spacesuit? I doubt it. Are we saying the aliens/ human military created an environment which they did not control or monitor? Highly doubtful. The time they had they were intended to have.

        To me, it’s kind of like The Hunger Games or Cube or even Saw. Why are these people being brutalized (even if it is just in their minds) ? Because they can be, because someone enjoys it / it makes them feel powerful and maybe because, well, evil.

        There is no higher purpose, no gifts of superpowers but instead meaningless torture. Since the ‘bad guys’ know there is no escape anyway, what’s the point?

    • Ayoka

      I’m soooooooo extremely late but I have a different theory altogether. Agree that nick and his friends represent the cream of the crop but I don’t think the advanced rave of aliens were testing them. I looked at it more like they were helping them to mentally prepare for the gifts they had given them. Nick was about to lose use of his legs but he was gifted with an ever more powerful pair. Haley even spoke of how beautiful her coma was in terms that were not negative. Jonah represented the too human and incredulous aspect of humanity , doubt and disbelief, and therefore used his gift as a weapon to destroy and eventually paid the price with his own death. Laurence’s character was much more of the decision maker, like a benevolent religious figure checking the mental progress of the subjects while shrewdly exposing them to the truth of their new world. The ” planet” itself is a colony, an incubation area for the advancement of interterrestial intellect , and a training ground. But one does not teach the training ground or the realization that one is no longer on earth without developing a certain level of toughness and mental resiliency. Hence why the scrambled characters never broke through the wall or realized their true position in the universe or even their actual physical whereabouts.
      Nicks rebellion, will to survive, decisiveness against an authority figure , and ability to adapt quickly to an incredulous situation was the exact proof that Laurence’s character needed to welcome him into the race if super human / machine inhabitants of the new colony. Hence why Laurence’s character was pleased and Nicks eyes opened. Hakes chatscter was whisked back and away from Nick as a catalyst for his transformation. But she , being the least explored wild card character, could also still be in the mental training ground if the fictitious and earth like Area 51, and awaiting the breakthrough that brings her into that new world as a fully developed member. This movie is fascinating, and though I’ve just seen it, I really enjoyed finding your page with the interesting discussions on its true meaning. Thanks!

      • Sophia

        I like the idea of “preparing them for their gifts” very well said and I like your take on this movie.

      • Paige

        Of all the theories, I like yours the best. Yours actually fits with how I perceived the film. I think the fact that there are so many different theories, shows the writer’s competency. This could have easily turned out to be so confusing for people that they simply thought it sucked and moved on. While others, watch it again and again, discuss it, theorize about it and are fascinated by it. To me, this makes it a great film.

      • Taylor Holmes

        Yes, sorry – you are incorrect good sir. He is literally saying to Hannah, “let’s make a baby(Hannah… if I knew who she was that is.) But he doesn’t know anything about Hannah and doesn’t know that she’all die early. And doesn’t know he will leave Louise because he will get angry about Louise knowing and still bringing her into the world.

        In a word – Hannah hadn’t been born yet.

      • Jody

        All i wana know is how did she get her necklace back

    • AnthonyGoldsby

      Great abduction movie humanizing alien motives while examining human frailties such as Nic’s illness Jonah’s resentment Haley’s emotional confusion not to mention our penchant for sticking our noses where they don’t belong. Nic and Jonah’s obsession to find Uber-hacker Damon ultimately is their own fault and reason for their dilemma. The cyber angle played well considering modern day concerns over cybercrimes government intrusion into our lives and the underlying question… who’s listening to us and what do they want?

    • Jason

      Call me old school, but I love the interpretive element of the story that forces you to personalize it. I thought the nods to Jacobs Ladder were spot on. Also loved the references to ET and 12 Monkeys. Many Kubrik-Esque scenes too. Good modern dark cinema!

      • Jason

        Oh and watch out for Olivia Cooke- a dark beauty choosing such intriguing/iconoclast roles at her young age.

    • Max

      Nice article, but I want to put it out there, that I thought the unrelated movie with the same name, The Signal, from 2007, is not terrible. In fact, it’s a really clever and satirical take on horror, that a fans of Evil Dead, John Carpenter, or Clive Barker should certainly watch. There are many movies more deserving of dismissal!

  2. james

    Excellent article. really liked the movie. What was up with the cleaning of the rooms of feces or blood or whatever. And the cow scene, was that meant to be a trick? I like to roll with literal vesion but I know tha author really wanted the journey of Nic to be the focus. I just like the alien stuff more.

  3. Taylor

    Hey James,
    Good question. I can’t remember the clean up part at this particular moment without some context. But the cow is obviously standing out in my memory. I assumed the Cow was just one more way that the aliens were studying the planet, the humans and their environs. No? I half expected them to blow the cow up or pull a District 9 on that front. Hahah. But really I just assumed it was another way to learn more. “hrmmm, what does this thing do?”

    I’ll have to go search for the blood cleanup scene. Just isn’t clicking presently. Sorry! I usually do a pretty good job keeping the details of all these crazy intense movies in my head but not this time! Hahah.

    • Ayla

      I saw the cow as a suddle hint at what the true identity of Nomad was.. I immediately connected the cow to the cliche view of an alien, cows being drawn up to UFOs by beams etc, etc. I think the cow was solely a hint that it wasn’t a government facility but an alien ship.

    • YourStupid

      How can anyone watch a movie and review it but forget parts of the movie like the clean up part and the cow part. I figured this movie out 13 minutes into it. I also figured out the hacker name was Damon because true hackers know that hackers love to use backward named handles. For example on the great Showtime show called HOMELAND they have a hacker named Gabe h. Cuod which is douche bag backwards. So when i saw the name nomad in the first 2 minutes of the film i saw the name DAMON while regular average people only seen NOMAD. Anyways that was easy. This movie was very predictable and thr hints and clues weren’t hints or clues they were straight in your face like “hey look at me”. Sorry but this movie had a weak plot and weaker twist. I guessed a alien planet but i guess it was more a alien space ship. Oh well who knows and who cares. The usual suspects is on tv so I’m going to watch that now..again. Now that’s a movie with a great plot twist. Sosa baby Sosa.

      • Adam

        Wow you are so smart! (Sarcasm) Can’t stand narcissistic people like you.

      • Adam

        Wow you’re so smart (sarcasm) Can stand people like u but they’re everywhere nonetheless

      • Bev

        Nice could not have said it better. I agree with you on everything including the Kevin Spacey classic.

      • Barbara

        Agree. Things we are all thinking but don’t want to say, because we want to like this movie. I think it could have been better. It didn’t dress itself up as a different movie, it fulfilled expectations that way, at least. But I know what you mean. And even if you know a good plot twist, and can see an ending coming, doesn’t mean it bad, right? Like the Usual Suspects, although that one totally blew me away, but I was younger when I saw it, before it was commonplace for all movies to ply you with a twist and a red herring. Even formulaic movies can be enjoyable, giving us a relaxing kind of feeling, knowing what will come next. Like a good tv series.

      • Jennie

        If you are going to type “your stupid”–oh never mind-I found the irony entertaining.

      • Es

        You are as stupid as the writer of this article. Thr is not a word and you never use a without a “n” before following up with a vowel. Your welcome YS.

      • Taylor Holmes

        I am definitely stupid. Fair. But before you begin tearing people down, make sure your crap is 100% together… which it isn’t. And if you are going to correct someone’s grammar, maybe get your comment correctly written as well? I assume you meant to say, “you’re” welcome? Or are you saying its theirs? They own welcome? Always use You’re, for You are… as in, “you’re welcome.”

        Now, cut it out with the rudeness. Yes, I’m regularly wrong here. But that doesn’t mean it grants you the right to be an idiot. Feel free to inform me of my wrongness. Fine. But don’t denigrate others while doing it, or you’ll find that your comments just start poofing into nothingness.

      • Pyramid

        I really enjoyed the movie and still have questions, but that’s why it’s a good movie. I especially enjoy reading other people’s theories. Even the negative ones. However, there’s a very real difference in negative theories and negative criticism about theories. For everyone with a negative theory, or who claims to hate the movie and calls the writer/director an idiot….Who would take the time to comment, especially comment and add their own personal theory about what they believe the plot to be, on a movie they claim to be a waste of time watching?!!? If you “don’t get it” then GREAT!!!! That’s exactly the outcome hoped for. Not understanding will lead to questions, which lead to comments/blogs/discussions/theories. This leads to attention in the media/press. (Any press is good press, even bad press). Then discussion about a sequel, and hopefully the making of a sequel. (Which I’m 100% certain you will watch) Don’t be insecure about not being able to explain what just happened, and lash out at Taylor for posting three excellent theories. Then lash out at the people who comment(agree) on his theories. First of all, by you commenting on this discussion board, you have given attention to the movie and proven that you actually liked it but are just mad because you can’t explain it. Second, I know this post is grammatically incorrect and I intentionally used a very basic vocabulary, so don’t waste time on criticizing my literature skills. I know they’re awful, but only because I know the proper way (at least for the errors you’ve criticized so far ‘Es, lol) to achieve subjEct-verb agreement, apostroph’Es’, and conjunctionS. I think before you venture further, into this further, you should heed the “poof out” warning you were politely given in response to your earlier comment. I personally enjoyed your theories Taylor and apologize for being rude on your site. I know you don’t need defending, but I can only take so much. Lol. I have my own theories that I haven’t seen posted yet, and wanted to post them, but maybe later. Great work….keep it up!!

      • Isolde

        Wow, all of us “regular, average people” were truly clueless.

    • Shawn

      But all the crazy ppl were eatting ribs soon after the cow sence. I think they had a subject that may kill the cow and after they feed the remains to previous test subjects, also it correlates with the actual record of aliens mutilating cows.

      • Barbara

        OH man. I totally missed that. I think it was definitely misdirection. Unless someone has a good explanation for it. At first I was thinking they were seeing how the cow or whatever was in the room, would react to Nic’s presence.

        Do you think there is something to be said about using the nomenclature “extraterrestrial. Illogical entity” rather than the other terms we gave heard? Maybe the “biological” part of all of that makes our brains go along with the hazard suits and contamination idea.

  4. Mel

    I think the movie it’s very strange. It makes more sense for me the literal view. But there are so many questions.
    I remeber that at some point Damon talks about the pen, that it’s the one thing that works. The phone in the Bar didn’t have a signal…
    Why Jonah have new arms? What happens to Jonah? He killed everyone. And what is the thing on the Haley’s back? That thing makes her sick?
    That lady on the car, told Nic to get out from inside. He remebered that, and that’s why he runned?
    What happend when the cow disappeared? What was that on the walls?

  5. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there Mel,
    hahah – yeah, I agree, it’s a wonderfully strange movie. Great questions. I generally take the literalist view as well – I mean, from the alien literalist perspective, if that is even possible – but I also agree with James, that the focus was meant to stay on Nic. I personally think all the old technology and designs were to set the alien aorld apart from our world. We start on our planet, and flip over once they get to the shack. As for the arms, I think they were fixing the humans who were “broken” from their perspective.

    I love everything about this movie. The feel of it sort of reminded me of The Other, which I just watched last night for the first time. Another great movie worth digging into.

  6. Tobias

    Hey Taylor!

    Loved the movie, hated being left with questions. Some of which you answered, thanks !

    If they are aliens? Why don’t we see them? Or are they robotic only?
    Why are there numbers on the spaceship? Aliens use our Arabic Numeral system as well?

    Cheers ! & Happy holidays !

  7. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there Tobias – great questions.
    If they are aliens? Why don’t we see them? Or are they robotic only?
    Are you meaning, see them in their non-human form? We see them everywhere. Fishburn is an alien after all. But we are obviously not seeing what he really looks like. And as for the robotic portion of your question, are you implying that maybe the aliens aren’t life form aliens, in an E.T. sense, but maybe they are actually robots searching the galaxy for life forms to study? Could be? I guess? That would mean that E.T. (or whatever) sent the robots out to search the galaxies for life and study them? No?

    As for the numbers on the spaceship – I didn’t catch that. I’m going to head back to the movie and see the ending again. Is that where the numbers were I assume? That is a pretty significant detail actually. Thanks for pointing it out! hahah.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas to you as well Tobias!

    • Shawn

      I think nomad or damon is not an alien but an actual hacker that became a test subject and had his brain replaced. The failure was even though he had nomads memorys he did not have the human will they wished to study, thats why he said ” look at you, our greatest accomplishment, mix of human will and alien technology.” Or something close to that. They made a drone out of nomad, so they put him in change of the drones.

      • Nana

        Why wouldn’t he have a human will if he had been a human before?

    • Andrew

      The numbers on the ship are the same numbers tattooed on Nic’s arm.
      I’m guessing that ‘attaches’ Nic to that exhibit/habitat.

  8. viroidal

    Jonah was suposed to be with nic and the girl… and, at one point, he managed to escape before the couple. I guess Jonah escaped after the cow experience, and used his arms to destroy everithing, including corridors;)

  9. Andre

    There are problems with the whole Nic (I see what you did there mr hackr) being an unreliable narrator, or even having a subjective POV in the movie. And that is, there are more than a few scenes that do not feature Nic, and where significant stuff happens.
    Other movies that have a red herring type of scene are normally limited to one or two, like in Glen Gary Glenross, where Jack Lemon goes into the phonebooth and is talking with his daughter on the phone. Any more than one or two and its something else. Or even like in Jacobs Ladder.
    Its kind of why this movie, while it is nicely done, and is a gripping, tension filled journey, let me down at the end.

  10. Ulf Nordby

    I believe you guys might have missed another possibly better explanation. The spaceship has numbers on it (, just like the tatoos), the environment and technology inside this research facility is from the 40ies or so. So, perhaps the movie is trying to suggest, that humans gained knowledge of alien technology in the 40ies or so, just like it’s suggested in countless conspiration theories about government coverups of alien landings etc. Then, in complete secrecy, humans built at least two super large spacestations. The first would have been called, which could then be upgraded to, and so forth. The one in the movie was, now upgraded sufficiently many times to be called – with a nice reference to area 51. Here the (or we) humans have ever since tested this alien technology.

    This movie, then, is about a certain segment in these tests: trials on how to substitute parts of a human (and perhaps also a cow) with alien tech – and how to make it function properly on subjects who are absolutely clueless about what they are partaking in. Apparently the right track to do that, is to: 1. Find intelligent subjects. 2. Lure them into a trap. 3. Abduct them to the spacestation. 4. “Install” alien tech into their bodies. 5. Provoke them, challenge them mentally and emotionally and then agitate them sufficiently.
    Good questions to this theory would then be:
    Why test this, when clearly it has been done already (Lawrence Fishburne seems to be functioning pretty well with the technology?
    Why haven’t they installed tech into Haley’s body?
    What made Haley scream and what tossed her violently up in the air, at the point of abduction?
    Did we really see an alien in the tree outside the shack?
    Why didn’t we see alien tech in the other test-subjects? Perhaps the tech installed into the old lady was some kind of brain replacement, which malfuntioned – making her repeat thing over and over…

    Another thing just occurred to me. Nic had his legged swapped for alien tech – his legs were immensely important to him. Jonah had his hands and lower arms swapped – they were his most important tools (to be able to hack). So part of the testing is about taking what a person needs the most, and swap it for an alien version, hoping that he/she will fight even harder to learn how to use the new body parts…?

    • T3rrO10k

      The tattoo is an IP address. Nic is a node on the network as well as the space they inhabit, thus the numbers on the wall.

      • BrianAB

        If you listen carefully, the paging system in the hallways as Nic is moving Haley on the gurney has some curious information. At one point, it repeats the numbers 773412487. I did some internet research, and that number could possibly be a code used for expressing date and time. In this case, July 5, 1994 at 12:48 PM ? In addition, the paging system repeats “Protocol A”, “Protocol B”, “Protocol C”. One site on the internet defines a “Protocol A,B,C,” as follows

        “The ABC protocol consists of digitally guided implantation, autogenous bone graft (A), followed by bovine bone xenograft (B) and connective tissue graft (C).”

        Bovine ? As in cows ? There was a cow in the movie. Did they use cow bones to create the white part of Nic’s legs and Jonah’s hands ? They must have slaughtered something in those room they were hosing down.

        Thoughts ?

  11. Chris

    Being abducted by an alien race of machines seems fair. This could be our own future as we integrate with our technology. We could lose our humanity then stumble across another race with complicated emotions and decide to study them.

  12. kingerz

    A few corrections to the article and comments:
    -There is a signal or sound in the movie that only Hayley can hear, when they are in the house where the showdown happens.
    -Hayley does have alien tech in her upper spine, we see this.
    -We see numbers on the spaceship, clearly human numbers.

  13. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there Kingerz,
    I’ll be sure to update the article with your details. Thanks for swinging by. And to the rest of you, great comments and ideas. Very interesting to read.

  14. Katurax

    I see no reason to think these.. Aliens are organic beings at all. Nothing about Nomad was organic looking but his face. Plus, remember how the facility was run like a machine? People wouldn’t even look up from their clipboards and made their rounds on perfect clockwork precision. The Earth numbers at the end are a huge mystery. And of all the numbers ( only the 5 and 1 are lite up as if the director was pointing out a clue. The cow and feces room is also pretty unclear. Some other question I had… Why did they tell Nic he was never really talking to Jonah through the vent? And when he was talking to Jonah, Jonah said they made him drink some thing weird, what do you think it was?

    • Paulie

      I feel the cow scene was to see how Jonah would reacts to it because he has alien arms now. Than the alarms go off. The markings on the walls were made by him when he escaped the facility.

      • Shawn

        Sorry, but, once again did anyone notice how folks were eatting ribs at the dianer after the cow secne?

  15. Greg

    watched it last night and slept on it before I would comment on anything here, the only things I could add are that I think nomad plus the other workers may well be robots doing the aliens work for them as we see Nic being shown (what is standard of our beliefs) what ETs look like (or maybe that was just to help Nic get a handle of the situation he was in!?! And actually the aliens are robots as previous people have mentioned. It was interesting that once Nomad saw how humans had adapted in their environment he then killed them ie the guy on the chair talking about his family and dog. As far as the cow goes, that occurred to me of being a launchpad sending a strangely mutated animal back to earth (that we so often see on the news) maybe as a calling card where the 3 of them were taking? who knows, good film, beautifully shot and great character development by giving just enough to start off debates like on here

  16. Katurax

    Great thinking Greg. I too thought it was robots designed by the aliens, doing research for them. The one thing I forgot to mention in my first post was the alien that Nomad showed Nic on video. The stereotypical alien face that was in the middle of the tree outside the shack. Perhaps it was just Nomad trying to gauge the response from Nic after seeing such a typical earthling rendition of how we view alien species. Or maybe that’s the true face of the aliens who are really in charge! Either way it’s very fun to speculate on the many possibilities.

    • Jody

      If it was robots doing there work for them why the need for masks

  17. Damien

    The horn towards the end, was that the ship signalling it was docking ? because they all looked up at the sky.

  18. Damien

    The horn towards the end, was that the ship signalling it was docking ????……. they all lucked up to the sky when the loud horn was sounded.

  19. AXE

    The shit in the room.. Probably what a cow shed would look like after a few days if it was hospital white..?
    The aliens wanted to make things better. To improve. The legs for Nic, the hands for Jonah and, just possibly what they may have perceived as the ‘attitude’ of Hayley..? She was much more docile?

  20. bala

    A couple of things about this movie just don’t make sense in my mind and I just can’t explain them.
    1. The guys in suits at the lab behave like beings with limited functions – they just walk around in certain paths, do certain jobs, etc. They don’t even notice Nic in the corridor during his first attempted escape (one guy didn’t notice him when Nic was like 3 meters in front of him). Damon seem to be different in that he makes decisions. So, Is he a more intelligent robot, different from others? Or is he the alien? Then why others are so dumb?
    2. The police seem to be different from the guys in suits. Their behaviour is totally human! The lab dudes are stiff, move slowly, seem dumb. The police are quick, organised, act ‘normally’, just like real police would. Who are these dudes? Different kind of robots again? When watching the movie I was convinced they were humans – their behaviour is so himan-like.
    3. What’s the dark liquid that comes out of some subject’s noses? What does it mean? Is seems to be a bad sign. Damon seem to get happy when he realises that it was ‘just blood’ that came out from Nic’s nose. He even showed it to someone behind the screen. Like if it was dark stuff they would have to kill Nic or something.
    4. What’s the criteria based on which Damon kills the subjects? Dark liquid from the nose, like in the case with the lady? Going bonkers, like in the case of the lady and the guy? Well, they had been bonkers for a long time it seems, why did they leave them alone before? Doesn’t make sense. Why to leave them alive anyway? Is it some kind of a long term experiment?
    5. This one is really big for me, which seem like bad thinking by the story writer. Why to use ‘the police’ to stop escaped subjects? I mean seriously – these aliens have such kick ass tech (think Nic’s legs), why do they need human looking cops running around shooting the subjects? Why not to use some laser shooting spheres (like in Star Wars) that track you down and kill your ass in a minute or something like that? My first reaction was that they are trying to keep the illusion of Earth complete.. but then, why to keep convincing you that it’s Earth if they want you dead? Damon carrying the read case meant the end for Nic, right? Why to kill the escaped subjects in the first place? They seem to push the subjects to provoke extreme behaviour, just to kill them after?

    Could think of more, but these are the main ones.
    All the best!

    • enleuk

      I like your questions, they’re very good. I don’t know how to answer them, but I think it would help if we thought of the aliens in a different way.

      First of all, I assume the literal interpretation is correct, although I acknowledge that a story can be true in more than one sense of the word. Anyway, to us, robots are made of metal, silicon, plastic etc. Humans build robots, but humans themselves are organic. That’s the difference between humans and robots. However, it is possible for evolution on a different planet to create an alien made of metal, silicon, plastic etc, without them actually being robots in the sense that someone built them. I mean, they could be robots built by aliens, but they could also be aliens that just happen to be made of the same material as robots on earth. Or at least material that looks robotic.

      But the aliens might not simply be robots, they could be made of quite strange materials and have quite strange body functions that evolved naturally. If they did evolve naturally, they would perhaps gain the technology to alter their own bodies, just like we humans are able to manipulate our own genome, but way more advanced.

      Let’s further assume that the entire Area 51 is designed only for the three test subjects, who each have an implant of alien tissue or alien technology, depending on how we look at it. The people in the area are all aliens or robots, built to be actors, playing guards, not to be actual guards. If they were genetically engineered/built for a purpose, that could explain why they exhibit different modes of thinking and moving. The set is based on information gathered by the aliens from earth in the 50s when they first discovered earth and began the testing. In a sense, that would mean that the entire escape is part of the experiment, because at any point, the test subjects could be terminated easily from the outside of the area.

      So, why do some of residents bleed a strange colour? Well, they’re aliens made to look human as part of the experiment, and since they’re aliens it’s not that strange that they bleed a different colour from us. But why would Nomad shoot his fellow aliens? Because they’re infected. The experiments have revealed that human bodies and alien tissue/technology are compatible, but Nomad emphasizes the role of the human mind in this meeting. Is he saying, whether we call him alien or robot, that humans think in a different way to himself? Is the meeting affecting the aliens negatively? Are the humans contagious simply because of something normal about their bodies, are human pheromones or sweat or something like viruses to the aliens, infecting them, making them mad/corrupting their programming?

      Nomad carries a gun to shoot aliens that are infected by the humans. It seems that this gun is the only weapon that ever kills anyone and it is only used against two crazy people, an old lady and a truck driver. If so, that would also be part of the experiment, studying the effects of the human virus on the aliens. The old lady and the truck driver seem to be programmed, but then appear to go crazy. Whether we call them robots or aliens, they seem to think like robots, very rational and more like what we’d expect from AI than from humans.

      Let’s assume that this rather far-fetching theory is true. If so, the truck driver has been infected by the human virus. If the truck driver robot/alien guy, was programmed to behave rationally, then his strange behaviour must symptomatic for the infection. He tells Nomad that he lives in a house and has a family who lives there with him. Nomad doesn’t seem to believe him and comments on his emotions, fear, anger and so on, and on his survival instinct. The old lady seems to get stuck like a record player. These things might be symptoms of the virus. The human virus causes otherwise calm, cold, rational computer-like beings to become emotional, irrational and egotistical.

      The cow is still a mystery to me.

      • Jason

        To paraphrase Prime Consciousness Aki Zeta-5, why is it so strange to surmise that intelligence could evolve in metal the same way it has evolved in meat?

      • Jason

        Wow that comment about the human virus was so eerily prophetic.

  21. Katurax

    Well said Bala! I was intrigued by this movie equally as I was annoyed by it. I hate being spoon fed all the answers and details like most movies do but at the same time the answers do have to be there one way or another. I like to piece things together but when the director wants us to put together a puzzle and only gives us half the pieces we are left wondering what the final picture even is!

  22. Theodis Butler

    Nomad says, he can’t protect him if he goes “up”…topside. Nevertheless, Nomad is in charge of the entire area.

    Thats the thing about movies. They aren’t required to actually make sense or be logical. It is my opinion that everything takes place inside Nic’s head. None of it is real.

  23. Felix

    In one scene we can see this little note:
    last updated 1947-03-22
    its on the pc while they track “nomad”
    1947 is connected to the alien thing about are 51 ( ?!)
    hope u like it

  24. Grosbug

    Clues ! Damon (or Demon) manipulative liar playing around with one other similar disposed and brilliant mind, Nic acting stubborn and childishly in a way yet limited by a disease that tends to bring him back to earth. Yet he made is choice to follow the signal, to play Damon’s game/experiments.
    Nomad meaning crossing-over technology, breaking walls, discovering other realities or higher level of conscience, constantly seeking to progress, moving forward being the main focus of ones life, evolution of the Monad (the divine particule) in the illusion of a demiurge (Damon?).
    Therefore we can argue that Damon may really be the alien on the picture, a sort of demon materializing in what our imagination is conditioned to perceive as another intelligent life form (humanoid), we can see that the technology used is one that defies totally the rules of physics, that permits to brake the wall of one reality to reach or to be mislead, abducted to another one (could be another paradigmatic trap by Damon the demon). What’s the limit ? Can Nic escape the space station (in the cross-over state of technological fusion) to go back to earth (by space/dimension/plan travel?) , to go back to his human condition and life instead of falling in the void, of becoming something else, an entity with pure android traits, or technologies that seems to make sense or is comprehensible at a basic level for a human mind.
    I have to watch the movie again :)

  25. Grosbug

    Wikipédia Jacques Vallée.

    Interpretation of the UFO evidence

    Vallée proposes that there is a genuine UFO phenomenon, partly associated with a form of non-human consciousness that manipulates space and time. The phenomenon has been active throughout human history, and seems to masquerade in various forms to different cultures. In his opinion, the intelligence behind the phenomenon attempts social manipulation by using deception on the humans with whom they interact.

    Vallée also proposes that a secondary aspect of the UFO phenomenon involves human manipulation by humans. Witnesses of UFO phenomena undergo a manipulative and staged spectacle, meant to alter their belief system, and eventually, influence human society by suggesting alien intervention from outer space. The ultimate motivation for this deception is probably a projected major change of human society, the breaking down of old belief systems and the implementation of new ones. Vallée states that the evidence, if carefully analyzed, suggests an underlying plan for the deception of mankind by means of unknown, highly advanced methods. Vallée states that it is highly unlikely that governments actually conceal alien evidence, as the popular myth suggests. Rather, it is much more likely that that is exactly what the manipulators want us to believe. Vallée feels the entire subject of UFOs is mystified by charlatans and science fiction. He advocates a stronger and more serious involvement of science in the UFO research and debate.[11] Only this can reveal the true nature of the UFO phenomenon.

  26. Gioro

    Hi everybody! I didn’t read all the comments. I think this: in this movie the author had intentionally confused his audition by using mind tricks and “boxes inside boxes” stuff. I think that the final scene is a nice exercise of randomness, It is stupid like the budstep music in the background. When Nic found himself in that fucking room in the giant city-spacelab THERE ARE THE SAME NUMBERS of his fucking ID tattoo. Ok Aliens writing numbers like we do…sure. So I have to leave the “alien theory” that is the most “sensed” until this scene. Ok you mentioned the other “inside mind of Nic” theory. And then? Where’s the mistery? So do I have to think that is all a Nic’s trip inside his mind? Uhm I feel cold and empty inside.
    OK Author…It’s all an illusion woooo. u’ve so surprised me!
    Could be a better movie sorry

  27. Baxter

    Anyone noticed that the header image is incorrect? The text in the mirror should not be mirrored. It should appear normal, since the backside of the text (which is mirrored in comparison to our view) is facing the mirror.

  28. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there Baxter…
    Just noticed your comment. Yeah, that’s me just getting lazy in Photoshop. But thanks for noticing! hahah. Not really much of a conspiracy piece, save that it shows I sometimes just slap stuff together for expediency sake. I even thought someone might even mention it and then I was like… nah… no one will even notice. hahah.

    Guess the jokes on me!

  29. austin

    What’s up with the human numbers painted on the alien space ship?

  30. Derrick

    The symbolism and explanation is in the very start of the when he helps the kid with the claw machine. A Human using robotic claw to win prize which is an alien. We created or use technology to explore space in search of a prize (other life forms)

  31. Adam

    After thinking about the cow and why they had it, using the literal view, I think it was just a cliche joke they put in the movie. What do aliens always do when the come to earth, abduct cows. I don’t the cow really had any significance except to lead us down the literal view path whether right or wrong. Just my thoughts.

  32. Bull

    test, comment fields for name and email i guess are unmarked on firefox.

  33. Bull

    So been a while since movie came and i just watched it for the first time and probably no one is still checking this thread but i figured i might as well post my take on it since for me it felt kinda obvious though as with all mind bendy stuff there is no proof and thus open for interpretation. Again my take, perhaps my logic is flawed but to each his own, right? Oh also sorry about wall of text.

    Basically i’m for the more literal view, but before i explain my side of things, a few notes.

    1. As for the mental/internal view points and possibly also the shack view, slight problem and also the reason, why i’m inclined to believe the literal view.

    During two clear scenes we see scenes that have no direct relation to Nic, if this was in Nic’s head why do we see two scenes of event that are unknown to him, if this was his mind we should only see “about him”.
    The scenes i’m referring to are when nomad “capture” and kill two other subjects the old lady and the trucker.

    For whatever reason interaction with Nic seems to have messed these two up and nomad speaks as if he has met them before and now due to their change is showing interest in them again. And logically to not interfere with other subjects or just because they were faulty he got rid of them.

    2. Someone mention arabic numerals and if it refers to the scene i will focus on when explaining my take on things, they are not arabic nor after some googling did i find any other “earth” numerals like them (well as far as a quick google image search can provide).

    3. Felix wrote
    In one scene we can see this little note:
    last updated 1947-03-22
    its on the pc while they track “nomad”
    1947 is connected to the alien thing

    For a moment i considered what if they were already in the simulation from the get go and i Paused and went frame by frame, we can’t see the entire line, and like many things this is an unknown, i might be important, it’s probably an easter egg and joke, but it could also be: as simple as,
    IP and Owner Adress: Last updated on XXX.

    4. well there was something ells on my mind here but i forgot, but instead, regarding the cow, yea i get it, it’s a joke, but if we want to do a more literal and serious take on it, it could be that since the Aliens are researching us they might be wondering about and why we humans think other aliens will abduct cows and experiment on them, and perhaps they have some “other” (will make sense when i get to my take) test subject in the human area and simple want to see if there is anything to human mythos about aliens and cows.

    Notes End

    Oh and i won’t say things regarding certain details like are there biological aliens, are there only robots, is nomad a robot or something like an interface for the aliens to interact with the testing areas or simply A.I.
    But right at the end we see what looks like buildings and a city so.

    Now onto my take but for that two images to explain.

    Like i wrote i believe in the literal, they were abducted but this is more towards, who are the aliens.
    (question is, do the writers them selfs have any idea or perhaps they just went with the flow).

    I think that the Abducting aliens (main aliens) are something like a science vessel or a civilization ark, exploring space and all within.

    A lot of theories about the numbers on the space ship in the end, (this might be a case of the movie number 23, you see what you want to)
    If you look at the pictures (imgur links), when u look at it and when zoomed in (second picture i just marked it with red to make it obvious) besides the human number to both the left and right there are other markings, and my logic follows, each is external markings to which research race/subject that unit belongs to.

    The main aliens travel space and when the aliens comes across another civilization they, make a unit/block dedicated to that civilization and the numbers / signs are just how they refer to us, so simple is how the main aliens refers to humans.

    Again questionable details about specifics, i said i wasn’t going to get into it but as for all the “why’s” why this, why that, why replace his hand, i’ll go for the simple because they can. They abduct various species do various things to them to see what happens (that’s what science is).

    As for the blocks/units to the left and right, that could be random lines (number 23). But is doesn’t look random it looks structured and yes is might be the main aliens own language, but the comparing the left and right they are different and also “drawn” with different thicknesses, if it were the main aliens own, it doesn’t make sense why they would use two different thicknesses on their letters (again the funny thing about scifi, make sense from whos perspective :D maybe it’s normal to aliens, but considering it was drawn by IRL humans ;-) after all, my logic follows, different fonts, different languages).

    Think i wrote down all that popped into my head and this was my theory on things, thanks :D oh and sorry for the occasional faulty english, not my main.

  34. Tommo

    I agreed with the alien theory until I realised: why would they have human numbers annotated on the outside of the spaceship/habitat? This surely throws a whole new spanner into the works?

  35. Tommo

    Just noticed the number issue has already been raised. A few comments about what the rooms with blood/feces suggest/represent. I think they may have been put there to encourage Nic to take flight. Give him a REASON to escape. They were looking for excellent examples of human intelligence and determination. The whole underground facility was designed to encourage the idea of escape. Mouse in a maze style.

  36. Taylor Holmes

    So human numbers on the side of the spaceship. Got it. And let’s just assume that this wasn’t a model maker’s mistake in logic. So what could it possibly mean? That the government has a fleet of space technologies they use for research and indoctrination? Ok. I’m digging it. NSA gone gravity-less?

    Hey also gang – I wrote a big huge review of Interstellar finally. You can all find it over here: http://taylorholmes.com/2015/03/20/alternate-interstellar-movie-theories-and-explanations/ – would love to know your thoughts on it. And where I’m smoking crack, again.

  37. Tommo

    And there is a very human looking stairway next to him after he breaks out. Complete with what looks like graffiti. Oh god. What have I become.

  38. Jeff Barton

    Very interesting discussion, and lots of good points to think about!
    The theory that I’m pondering is that the robots are researching ways to create a human/robot hybrid that would function as a soldier. The robots aren’t exactly quick on their feet, or very useful in a fight….Only Damon uses a gun, and then against unarmed opponents. The human trait of anger and intelligence is what the Robots are looking into.
    The ‘enemy’ that the robots are attempting to fight is the ‘virus’ that they are afraid has contaminated Nic. The old Woman says, while talking to Damon, “We’re coming to get you”. Perhaps the virus is intended to make people insane, before the ‘enemy’ invades or attacks the Earth. Perhaps they are robots created by Area 51 (hence the English alphabet used on the spaceship). Perhaps the Robots were made to do this job off planet, where the virus was less likely to get to. Perhaps Area 51 was taken over by alien/robots back in the 1950’s, and has been used to create this off World space station, and they just use the English alphabet because it’s convenient….They do, after all, speak English.
    Interesting film!

  39. Zeb

    Anyone noticed how nomads movement seems like it’s being slowed by gravity?

  40. bob

    How can Hayley give Nic her necklace at the end? She threw it into the canyon at the beginning?

  41. nick

    I thought Hailey was the contagious one, making everyone aroud her become crazy… she’s the only calm one and she’s the one they take in the hellicopter to bring back.

  42. travma

    The spaceship is not a spaceship. Planets are not exist. The earth is flat like the so called spaceship. They show you an image of the earth in the future they make plans to make in order to make the whole thing run like a movie studio.
    The spaceship is the earth. Earth is act like spaceship but it isn’t because space doesn’t exist as they told to you.

  43. travma

    nick, the Hailey use psychological manipulation against males at the time she went to the canyon to cry alone with crocodile tears with no apparent reason. The protagonist ask for sorry beforehand. She then futher divide rick into mind and heart. Jonah at the bathroom say that she must drive the next day and on the first scene Jonah is driving instead drinking coffe but in the second scene after 7 seconds she was driving! The car stop two times the noon in the same day to buy coffe? The first time raining and the second had a sunnyday but then at the cry scene at the canyon is afternoon.

  44. BigJerry

    Hello, I saw movie yesterday and don’t know if someone will read this but one think seems to be missed with everyone who thinks of literate view. When Nick finds out about his legs, he checks his man part. But he is in there for more than few days meaning he needs to eat, drink (we don’t see this, which is also strange) then take bathroom. So he had to find out about his legs and man part pretty much sooner.

  45. steve

    I really enjoyed the movie. I thought about the ending more than anything else pretty much going with the “capturing aliens to study humans” as similar to Dark City if anyone saw that one a few years ago. I did like the surprise abduction from the shack as unexpected and throwing the cards up in the air. Apparently in this movie the aliens or one of their representatives is a machine or android that has either combined with humans and/or other beings or wants to combine with humans and/or other beings as a means to find some missing piece of puzzle in aspiring to some higher level or state of being or place. We really don’t know from the movie as to their status and there are many possibilities. For the main character nick it seems the aliens have sought a smart test subject aware that he is debilitated to groom into what will somehow improve both human and alien. They bring him along slowly and perhaps they desired him also for his physical debility for increasing the odds that he would be more accepting of the changes he will have to endure and possibly because of what they may be able to see that nick desires. Perhaps the aliens bring him along slowly because of previous failures with subjects groomed too fast or because they have a sense of compassion. However, the aliens shot what appeared to be failed test subjects so are they really as brutal as that or maybe its all just a big hologram staged for the one test subject Nick and these test subjects are merely hologram entities and finally ended by the aliens with a gun for some reason that is satisfying to them. If they are indeed real people, however, one has to wonder if the aliens are capable of morals and ethics but maybe that is what they are searching to understand by testing people and going too far and stepping over the line or not caring about a line as witnessed by the shootings. In any event, there’s a lot of maybe that is open for speculation. But, back to the beginning of what I most liked and that was the ending of the movie. Here is nick with his new super legs and he understands he is now with an alien or aliens and is looking at what appears to be an android with a slight smile looking at him apparently now part human and alien. What i like is that nick got what he dreamed about and more but at what cost. Did the aliens see he loved running and made him the fastest thing going but missed the part about his love and his friend and just eliminated them? The only problem now for nick is what will he do now and where will he go to race and with whom? What good will these legs be to a man on an alien ship? Thus, the message i see here is to be careful about what you dream of and ask yourself if there are other ways for fulfillment to your end that are being deprived by living our lives on old memories and false dreams based on former selves. Of course nick may be taken to some other world to race other beings or he may coexist with his new alien friends for eternity or nick simply may have to answer the alien android or whatever it is that he didn’t find what he was looking for in response. Its a good mind stimulating flick no matter how you look at things and it was much enjoyed.

  46. sophia

    i am a bit confused on the scene where they tie a cow to a column , and the lights go dark and a chair is thrown. then an alarm sounds and flashings lights for about a minute. once they take nic into the halls, there are Black streaks of some substance on the walls. I was very confused

    • Paulie

      I think they were testing out Jonah and seeing how he would react to the cow (because the believe he has been effected by the alien, hence his new hands) Im guessing Jonah got angry and tried to escape thats why some object hit the window amd the alarms came one. The marks on the both sides of the wall is from jonahs hands when he escapes the facility.

  47. Carl

    I watched this film last year when it was online was awesome I since saw it recently and came back to the view that i need to know more.
    The implant haley got ? what it do? why ?
    Why did Jonah get new arms?
    i know Nick got new legs cause his were “damaged” i saw that was an enhancement for him
    why does the plane that flies Haley off go the direction that Nick runs but thats essentially the edge of the “test field” of the ship before nick breaks through to see hes on a ship.
    the ship hes on appears to be landing by which it was indicated with that loud noise near the end where they all look up
    i guess the ship numbers just signify the number of the ship they are on or co-ordinate where the ship belongs to.
    i do feel they made it so if they get a sequel they can answer the un-answerable questions.
    PS Does Jonah actually die?? we see at the end him smashing hell out of everything and everyone, i know he gets shot but he fights on through it
    i do think this wasnt “a dream” the whole alien side of the film, i feel it happened.

  48. jen king

    I would have to disagree with the alien theory, and I’ll tell you why. L.F. role as a scientist/dr/? would not go and deal with the ‘people’ these kids came in contact with if they were all on an alien ship, it’d just happen without our knowledge..same goes for IF it was in their heads..why then would he have these moments when the 3 aren’t around or involved in any way? Its clearly a government experiment, they have 100’s of acres to build fake sets and such and perhaps they were experimenting on USING some sort of ‘alien substance or blueprints’ to regenerate lost limbs. That would make more sense why L.F. kills the people the 3 came in contact with.
    I have a BIG problem with directors who make a film and try to tell us ‘it was…’ when its all over, BECAUSE there are too many loopholes to argue that is NOT the case.

  49. Gmill

    I personally think that it is aliens. I also grew up in the part of nevada that the ending takes place. The bridge is not in Nevada it is in Idaho, just north of twin falls, over the snake river. Area 51 by comparison is about 8 hours south just southwest of Alamo, nv. Thus, there would be at least 3 significant towns, while not large towns, towns nonetheless. Ely, nv; wells, NV ; and twin falls, id. All of this is excusable, as it is an alien ship. And would not have the human population base on this ship to adequately populate these towns. But on that hand it gives one an idea of how large that ship is. Also, I think that the cops are also cyborgs. As you never see any exposed body parts. As for the extra people that are there without enhancements, the old lady and the dude that get shot. My theory is that they did not have the intelligence level to get the enhancements, or to handle the mental adjustments that having cybernetic enhancements would take on the human psyche. Essentially, they happened upon the signal by chance, not drawn there as the main characters are. As for damon/nomad, I think that his entire existence, after being abducted, is to be a sort of coach for the new existence these people now have. I also think that he is still human in mind, but was modified to the extent that only his face and thought processes are human. As for the 1940s/50s styles, I would say that comes from the fact that the first television shows would have been sent out during that time. This means that the aliens were able to receive our communications via television signals, and designed their ship to show this style, as it would have been the first foray with the human species.

  50. Peter Leyshan

    This movie goes back to what Laurence Fishburne says in the movie called, “The Matrix”. “What is real?” – Morpheus
    I’m pretty sure this movie “The Signal” is hinting, that we are all literally living on a flat earth with a dome overhead, just like in the movie called, “The Truman Show”. Plus the “aliens” use a mind control method on us via sound frequencies. Transmitters for mind control sound waves include the cube, pyramid and sphere. Become aware of these shapes the next time you are out and about wherever you may live.

    It’s already been revealed that Google can spy on us via the camera on our electronic devices, and this is what’s shown also in this movie.

    Then there’s languages like English which were also designed for mind control. Many words when read backwards can reveal the true meaning behind it: (in this movie: Nomad = Damon) . The word Live = Evil, as an example. Words can also be broken down into parts, or simply contain the real meaning in the middle: be.lie.ve

    So what it all come down to, is that “The Signal” is frequency waves controlling our minds on a flat earth under a dome from the primary cube (2D cube viewed as a hexagon) located on the planet Saturn, by the robot like “Aliens”.
    I’m still thinking about the mixing of biology with machines angle and the experiments though. Any ideas?

  51. Anonymous

    im stuck on the point of the film, so this is kind of out there… Truth is expressed through metaphor. My guess is that after Nic breaks God knows how many speed barriers he Finds himself enlightened to a world that can’t be explained with the tools we have at our disposal. the only way I can take anything away from this film is by asking questions like the following… how could someone escape from a black hole? … And how would they perceive things if they did? … Maybe assume black holes are giant hologram generators, or simulations inside, or something… It’s like the allegory of the cave in my view. Looks like an attempt to Use things we know and understand to explain/visualize an idea/something we don’t have the capacity to perceive in our space (I.e. things we can understand like Area 51 and super awesome alien bionic legs). I found the movie entertaining.

    • Rob G

      I think there’s some great stuff here, but in trying to determine who is who and what is what, you all missed the most important statement of the entire movie. It occurs at the end, right before the loud sound causes Nomad to look up at the sky. Let me quote: (Nomad, talking to Nick on the road) “…Take a look at yourself. Perfect integration of human will and (pause) alien technology. Our finest achievement.” Note the use of the words there. By saying “alien technology”….it is clear that NOMAD is not an alien, right? Because if he were, he wouldn’t refer to it as alien technology. You heard earlier in the movie, when NOMAD goes and shoots the man in the chair….you survived this long on sheer will. ALL the beings there are human, in my opinion. Some appear to have no physical modifications — the old lady, the guy sitting in the chair shot by NOMAD. But in those cases, consider where they likely came from. The old woman picks up strangers on a road and gives them a ride…likely, she came upon that house somehow by accident, perhaps giving someone a ride…and was sucked up by the EBEs — extraterrestrial biological entities…hold that thought for a moment. The guy in the chair, talking about his mom and growing up…that was HIS HOUSE. He was sucked up simply because he lived there, and they decided to use that as the staging area for The Signal. The Signal draws people to the house who have the courage and smarts to get there — some got there by other means. And some may have been intentionally brought there by NOMAD, such as the security forces.

      So what about the body modifications? Those who they believe show “potential”…are given physical modifications. And then they are studied to see how strong willed and strong minded they are. Did they go crazy? Did they get killed by Nomad’s team or recaptured repeatedly? Nick is a success, because as their greatest achievement, he has gone beyond what any other person has achieved so far that has responded to their Signal. We don’t know for sure who else has been modified as we only see the 3 of them, but it seems to make clear that there have been others (due to the age of the facility and the 1947 update)…and NOMAD. 4 are known to have alien technology of some sort.

      NOMAD…that is the big question right? He talks about the EBEs…and if you think about it, NOMAD, even if human, is now an EBE, because he is a biological entity (living form) that is now extraterestrial (any object or being beyond the planet earth). So he could still be human, but be an EBE since he’s not on earth. He could very well represent the furthest changed any human has become….we only know for sure that his entire head and brain have been replaced with alien technology…we do not know what lies beneath his suit…and likewise, we never know for sure if the suits are really needed — or if the suits really just represent a coverup so nobody knows whos who (almost for sure the explanation…suits are not needed except to hide their appearance). Notice that NOMAD did not show his own team his head? If they are human, they can’t see it. Could NOMAD represent the Singularity? The idea that machines are evolving now on their own and he’s an advanced version of this? Maybe…but he has a human face that appears to be real flesh with wires pumping into it. So unless it’s fake somehow, he still has human elements to him. Therefore, I say that NOMAD is human, but like Nick has been modified…and when you ponder this, you realize that Nick is not in danger…Nick is actually likely to begin working with NOMAD! He is their greatest achievement..and will assist NOMAD now.

      And the ship that is revealed in the following scene, although far advanced beyond anything we have now….still looks like a structure built using human engineering, right? Do you see beams, glass, structures that appear to be built as they would be in human engineering. And the object, although immense, mimics the appearance of a jellyfish, again following how humans tend to look to nature to build things.

      I haven’t thought through every single thing but in truth, I believe that HUMANS MADE THIS SPACESHIP, using the ALIEN TECHNOLOGY that is referred to by NOMAD. They are able to take people from earth and test them on this test station. So while most people think Area 51 is just in Nevada, the truth is they are way past that and now in outer space.

      Where they are docking….above earth? A different place, seems the teaser for a sequel, if it were successful enough to warrant one. I think this is at least partially right, and I hope everyone will build on it.

      • Peggy Parker

        Rob g
        I totally agree!
        Space ship = earth
        Nomad = human WITH ALIEN TECHNOLOGY
        Ending = there is no spoon

        The end gives all the clues we need.
        Nomad saying “human will with ALIEN technology”

        But what really got me was the lady telling fishbourne something along the lines of “we’re gonna get you” or “we’re coming for you”
        Humans are preparing for a war with aliens, we have their tech, we’re training soldiers… Easy!
        Entertaining movie but could have used 15min more IMO

  52. Rob G

    Haley is taken away in the helicopter in order to infuriate Nick and push him to the brink and see what he will do. We do not know her modification at this point, and I again think that’s a teaser for a sequel. She was brought and kept with him, and although Jonah seemed to have a last stand there…he is Nick’s best friend and died (or maybe not) saving Nick and Haley. Punching the earth with his arm seemed to show that like Nick, he was brilliant and adapted quickly to his modification and was creative. My take is all 3 survived, and are to be further utilized in a sequel (again, I don’t know if it was successful enough to warrant one).

    It’s hard to think the ship is run by aliens and not humans. Why? Because aliens with ships like that could do whatever they want, so whether or not we knew they existed wouldn’t much matter — we couldn’t do anything about it…ala they wouldn’t need to hide from us. They could take us anytime. It seems to me a much more upbeat thought that humans, being so innovative, creative and with such a yearning for survival, found technology and built the testing ground. It’s a much more creative area 51 story than really any I have seen before.

  53. Emily

    I’m showing my age here (60) but needed to correct the statement that the relics from the past (cassette tapes in particular) were from the 1950’s! Not so!

    The standard audio cassette was invented in 1962 by the Philips company. They named it the “Compact Cassette”. The first cassettes and cassette recorders were not very good. The quality got better, and during the 1970s the cassette became a popular way to listen to music.

    I believe I read that the time period involved was supposed to be the 1970’s. That makes more sense. I guess if you are young you wouldn’t think much about those differences, hey, anything pre-digital/cell phones etc. may seem alike (being from the long ago past) but I’m old enough to remember ALL these changes.

    I remember the first color TV’s in the 60’s I believe it was, hence the name for the Disney show was the ‘Wonderful World of Color’. We had one of the first VCR’s back in the day and it cost about 1500 dollars.

    Love the discussion of the movie, I just finished watching it and I thought he was inside a computer and that Nomad was actually a computer (A.I.) who was wearing a mask to appear like a man, although everything would have actually been a simulation (virtual reality). Either that or this was a case of Aliens experimenting on humans.

  54. WarPig

    I, understood that these are humans using alien tech to experiment on humans, attempting to repair their disabilities. Maybe the cow scene shows an attempt to maybe feed an actual alien. The ship is a copy of a earth area and people were put there to be experimented on and when in space these subjects suffered from dementia or related issues. Nomad talks about pens while his pen is not functioning, Nic also has a broken pen in the scene with the girl while trying to take note of the map. I liked the movie, I have too many questions though.

  55. Tonytouchandgo

    I think NOMAD and the planet he hails from is actually an advanced generation of the human race. No longer living on Earth but another planet and millions of years in the future.

    In the future we become more robotic than human. NOMAD is trying to find a perfect balance of the old human race and present day alien/robot race we eventually become.

    In the future the advanced race knows very little of our ancient human race but set up an area (Area 51) with out of date items that they know humans were used to millions of years before.

    I think in NOMADS present day time we have either figured out out how to time travel or how to bend space and time and find a planet with humans living on it. They take us back to their new planet and run experiments on us. Again, trying to find a perfect balance with half human and half alien.

    Since NOMAD and the new race of humans have only read about items humans used to use like a Pen, and cows, and clocks. This is why we see him in the movie as acting like it is somewhat new to him. And sometimes like the clock not working at all. Guess NOMAD forgot the batteries. C’mon man!

    I could say so much more about this theory, but think about it. It makes sense!

    The numbers they use on the tattoos and on the space ship are the same numbers we use now because millions of years from now our advanced race will still be using the same letters and numbers us humans have for a long time.

    • Hiroshima N

      Well done. I prefer this idea to most I have read on this thread. This indeed would explain alot.

    • [email protected]

      To: Tonytouchandgo.
      I agree. Clearly, Nomad is deeply developed human, one of the androids.
      They carry “old” humans (very remote ancestors) in the spaceship – as nomads Jonah, Nic, and Haley carry fish with fishtank in their travel car (for nostalgic reason, symbol of home, and so on).
      Aquarium is the key metaphor of the film!
      Seems “” is the IP-address of that aquarium.

    • [email protected]

      P.S. And there is no need for “time travel” or “bend space and time”. Occam’s razor clearly cut these hypothesis. There is one time in the film. Jonah, Nic, and Haley were “abducted” from another aquarium – exactly as animal toys were extracted in the boy’s “crane game” in the beginning of the movie.

      This “aquarium theory” fully explains “errors in geography”:
      The trio stop at a rest stop in Nevada and Haley wanders off Nic goes to find her. She is sitting looking in to the Rio Grande Gorge and the gorge bridge is visible in the back ground. It is at least 600 miles from Nevada to Taos New Mexico where the bridge is located.
      (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2910814/trivia?tab=gf )

  56. K-Dun

    Haven’t read all the comments yet but I love this synopsis and help deciphering this film (which I enjoyed).

    That said – here’s my 0.2 cents and sorry if I am redundant with other posts.

    I think the film pays homage to Phillip K Dick, And ties in with ideas from Platos “allegory of the cave” and maybe even Orson Scott Card “Enders Game”.

    The various “aliens” are extensions of the “queen” who is observing Damon behind the glass – they are all minions under her control a la and colonies each with distinctive task (I.e. Worker drones, etc.).

    The “up” Damon cannot protect him from is the danger from being aware of the reality.

    Damon’s inquiry’s to Nic are like Dick’s Void Kamph – designed to protect and emotional response. Emotions are the “infection” and anathema to the aliens – note how emotionless Damon is. The cow is homage to 50’s alien myth and also little green man also designed to provoke response. Aliens just don’t get us or fear. The lab is a rubric of research. The reason clock doesn’t work is the lab is akin to a movie prop towards that end and not functional from our standards.

    The real mystery is Haley. She is the one they really desire, she is perhaps a “queen”. Notice that she is the one they really covet, protect and try to limit exposure from Nic who is rash and probably tainted. Her move to LA is not described but it’s obvious it was a decision driven by intellect not emotion. She is the real brains (and her intelligence is downplayed which is misdirection)

  57. catfish

    I have just watched The Signal and have noticed something no one mentioned before. Or maybe I missed it. After Damon shoots the trucker in the chair, he covers his face with a blanket and gently touches his chest. Covering a deceased’s face is clearly something humans do. Also, there is no one else around so Damon doesn’t need to act human. I don’t see why a robot or even an alien would make such a specifically human gesture? From my point of view Damon shows clear human behavior in this scene as well as empathy for the poor bastard. (The only time he shows any emotions, I believe?) The movie never shows how he actually kills the old lady so we don’t know what his reaction was.

  58. Khele

    If it is an alien spaceship why are the areas outside the simulation marked with human numbers?

    • Filippo

      That’s exactly what I thought as soon as i sow it…moreover: why soldiers speak in English while fighting with phrases like:”they are escaping”…or the use of a human weapon for terminating subjects…i hope these are details that want to tell us that they are not aliens…otherwise they are all mistakes…

  59. Rebecca

    So happy you do your blog. Every time I see a movie that I want to discuss further and Google the movie, I find your blog, and I’m like phew…he’s on top of this, thank goodness! I don’t understand why the girlfriend gets in the truck?

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey Rebecca,
      Very kind comment… Was only wandering through the latest comments to put out a flame war (gotta love that part of this job!) when I saw it and thought, hey, I should say thank you. To that end, if there are movies I should cover that are fairly recent that are worth discussing I want to hear about them. I do feel badly that the conversation threads have gotten too big for me to be involved like I used to be. For example, this one, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to jump back in! Like your specific question (which I hope has already answered?!?) I can’t even recall the specific moment in the movie anymore! I see it generally. But that’s about it. Which means I’d need to rewatch it, and think back and then ponder! Oh well. Thanks for the comment though, it meant a lot. I do scour for fun movies to discuss. Lately my favs have been the Revenant, uncanny, and synchronicity. Which you should see and comment on! Hahaha.

      Alright. I’m jumping back out. But thanks again.

      • ???

        Taylor, I’m just curious why you deleted my post? I was upset that Yourstupid was so rude to you so I was just trying to let this guy know he’s not the smartest person in the room and he shouldn’t be so cocky and basically roll his eyes at you. Why wouldn’t you delete his post? Sorry if I offended you somehow, but I like your takes on the movie.

      • Taylor Holmes

        Hey there Evie…
        I actually liked your post actually. I mean, he was being mean to me primarily. But you went after that guy way too hardcore for my liking. And since this isn’t just the internet, it’s my site… I figured I didn’t dig the overt hostility pointed at a person, as opposed to his logic. Respond again, with all the same points and I’ll leave it, but drop the ad hominem attacks please next time. Heck, I’ll re-post it for you… (10 minutes later) actually, I went to approve your arguments about the movie… but their weren’t any. hehe.

        So yeah, its disapproved. But thanks for sticking up for me all the same.

      • ???

        Well Taylor, I do apologize that I offended your sensibilities… That certainly wasn’t my intention. I mean the guy posted his name as “Yourstupid” and right off the bat it angered me. I don’t understand why some people would even post an attack on someone else unprovoked like that and I suppose I got a little carried away at pointing out his poor grammar.
        Anyway, his logic and remarks were rude and uncalled for.
        As for the movie, I think the literal theory would be the one that I would go with ;)

        Sorry again Taylor.

  60. Taylor

    I really don’t mind, and I thought your comments a riot. I had planned to delete both but got distracted and forgot.

    When I first started this blog, I think I bribed someone to make the first comment. Literally. Like a Starbucks card or something. But now? We get like 30 comments a day sometimes. More even. And I used to stay engaged with everyone directly. Commented. Dialogued. But now, I can only kick the conversations off and then I’m off to the next big movie that is coming. Like tonight, I posted a post about The Knight of Cups, but it doesn’t even come out til March or something.

    All that to say, I’m feeling a little disconnected from you all, and the comments have just recently started to be very negative (of me mainly – which is fine, it is what it is) but I really don’t want it to be a normal Internet atmosphere here. I’m not ok with trolling, and hating. It just isn’t ok. Just because we won’t meet doesn’t mean I can completely trash you with impunity. Just not ok. So I actually deleted four or five comments that were hateful before I saw yours. But yours made me laugh. But still didn’t figure it was ok.

    So no, you didn’t offend my sensibilities. But that guy is long long gone, and although funny, tearing apart his grammar doesn’t carry a theory forward. Bah. Whatever. Maybe I’ll post a post about the state of the Union in the world of comments around here, and wax eloquent. Then I’ll stop deleting comments? Hehehe.

  61. Azimuth5

    Taylor, you did a great job in your analysis, and so did some of your commentators. I love sci-fi, and “The Signal”, is right up there with “Blade Runner”, “Gattaca” and “Ex-Machina”. Good sci-fi, in all forms of media, help us think, search for answers, and re-examine our humanity. The fact you are able to put together 3 separate theories, and discuss them cohesively, shows that you are a true fan of film. Thanks for the discussion!

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey Azimuth,
      thanks. I’m actually most proud of the discussion and the people that have carried this thread for so long. Of all the movies I’ve opined on, this is the one I’ve left alone the longest. So, while I appreciate your compliment, I’ll turn and pass the compliment on to all the hundreds of comments that have really carried this topic forward. Kudos to you all guys. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the comments pour through each week. I enjoyed the movie, but I’ve enjoyed your conjecture all the more. Occasionally you guys throw something out there that makes me reopen the movie and my eyes are opened. So, well played all!


  62. Brandi Nicole Mason

    I watched The Signal for the first time last night (super behind lol) anyways, it’s left me with so many feelings deep within myself, feelings I’m not even sure of myself-idk how to explain a lot of what it’s made me feel. I really–really hope a sequel comes out before too long. Regardless of how popular it is, I think the story deserves to be carried on with additional information and answers, I think we as the audience deserve it too. SO MANY thoughts, ideas, theories, questions left unanswered, it’s hard for me to not know. BUT I will say that this entire thread/discussion that you’ve started/created has been, so far, the most pleasing/satisfying in regards to getting some answers and making sense of a LOT of it overall. I’ve read this entire thing, all of your theories etc along with every single comment etc…. It’s really given me some of the insight I was desperately needing. I’m going to definitely watch it again too. I just can’t explain the sad, empty feeling it gives me. Idk if anyone felt/feels that way but it’s haunting for me and I can’t come anywhere close to fully explaining/understanding the emotions and thoughts that provoke me!! Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you very much and thank you to everyone who commented and brought up amazingly awesome views/points/observations/answers, y’all are incredible! For anyone to come on here and be negative towards Taylor or anybody else, how ridiculous and embarrassing for you. It’s just nonsense! Anyways, I’ve never looked for answers etc for a movie before but feel I’ve really struck gold here, do I’ll be sure to look for you next time, hopefully I can find you and hopefully we’ll be discussing the sequel too haha, but I sure hope it won’t be as open ended hehe! Again, thank you so-very much everybody, it’s been much appreciated!!

  63. Claudio

    The grey Aliens have this “AREA 51” in space, and they have all this cyborgs or robots??? or are them also upgraded humans like the teens?

    the “grey aliens” are watching them? or is Nomad an ALIEN with human disguise?

    very cool. now, Nic or his friend must HACK that fucking ship !

    i think Nic had weak legs so the aliens upgraded the legs

    his friend had weak arms because was a ner all day in front of a computer, so they upgraded his arms

    Haley was not as smart as the guys from MIT (she was going to another university) so i think the aliens upgraded her brain and nervous sistem , and that´s why you see alien tech in her back.

  64. Joe

    Can someone please explain to me what was going on with the cow experiment? Until the big reveal at the end, you are deliberately led to believe that humans are learning about aliens and not the other way around. Can someone tell me what’s going on in the cow scene?!?!?

  65. Sammy

    Lol … honestly why curious sci fi movies like this make my day the drama was just too brief and guys becos of the numbers in d spaceship and d robotic nature of Nomad not to mention the jelly fish nature of the Ship i think nics speed made him arrive at the same moment wher message was sent to earth in the interstaller only dis time he appeared in an advanced future wher Robots had evolved and ofcus are roaming the galaxy, even finding other alians so i choose to fantasize that such civilization would help in the quantum calculations of moment or even Love lik in the interstaller … Dont forget what Nomad said that as advanced as they where a tin like a pen would still own its Place, Pen is human guyz!! when he made mention of nics Pride not to comply he referred to it just like a machine would,not an organism even dogs are emotional everybody in the facility behaved lik just Robots no intuition whats so eva and only robots will want to change a perfectly good hands to a robotic one like Nics Pal, even heleys sleep was also described as though it was a software running her best memories …. but that barrier Nic broke, the way he Broke it, the determination he needed does not sugest to me that he broke tru into the same place that is inside the ship…. Nomad needed to recruit him thus enabled him both physically and mentally to jump through time and space to arrive in that place wher he broke off… u should remember that nomad neva stepped into where nic arrived and if the movie has any comforting tale at all for what Nic went through should be that he jumped through time and space and arrived in an advanced place wher people are as smart as him thus loosing his legs would neva matter becos to be quite honest cutting up his legs witout his consent was quite cruel but if he jumped tru time and space, to where smart machines or humans stationed collecting galactic info then Nic will fill just fine

  66. Tae

    Yea I was definitely lost about a couple things, the cows, the part where she gave him the necklace at the end when she had clearly thrown it in the canyon and also where at the end you see they’re on a spaceship, but what portal does Nic open up & stare at(what does that symbolize?)

    Things I do have a theory on, remember at the beginning where Nic dropped the coffee and Jonas was in the car with the girl by themselves? She passed him a note and I believe they were having an affair which will be shown if there is a sequel. Also lost about one more thing lol, if Nic was given legs because he was disabled, why was Jonas given robotic hands and why was the girl never given anything?

  67. TC

    1st..Did no one see the alien in the tree on the video Damon showed nic? 2nd…The cow in the chamber scene was about Jonas, he escaped..

    The movie was pretty clear to be about aliens once they got to the shack.. But I didn’t see the twist that the facility was an alien ship and Damon was an alien. It all made sense in the end.. Except Haley.. I don’t know exactly what they did to her.. jonas and nic were smart and thats why they were given gifts. Jonas didnt die when he was shot multiple times and I dont think he died..
    My understanding is the other human test subjects were low IQ and the experiments on them were a bust.. making them basket cases. Each test subject that was a failure was abducted from a different time , like the trucker driving down the road, waitress at work and the crazy Ole lady was probably driving to church.. Hope there is a sequel..

  68. Jennie

    I am not sure if you have seen the following movies too but if you liked The Signal you might enjoy…
    1. Devils Pass
    2. The Shrine
    3. IT Follows

    All have that creepy undertow. Great article.

  69. Ansset Miller

    My interpretation:

    This movie is about raising the consciousness to a higher level. Let me explain.

    Forget about what happens in the movie. Forget the movie’s images. They are not important. They are just the WAY of the director to tell you a story that has nothing to do with Nick or aliens or anything.

    What does the director want to tell us? What’s the story then about?

    It’s a description of an “event”.

    What is the “event”?

    A guy (anyone, a human being) raising his awareness level of himself and his surroundings.

    That’s it. That is ALL of the movie. We can get to deatail, ENRICHING details, but as a WHOLE, that’s the movie. But LET ME go into the details.

    – Nick (again, it represents A human being) has a problem: He’s a runner with a dissease that will unable him to continue his life (again, represents SOMEONE, ANYONE, going trough tough times. Life changing tough.) This dire circumstance leads him to wonder, WHY THE FUCK AM I EVEN ALIVE IF I CAN’T EVEN DO WHAT I AM? Wich is a runner. He finds himself floating in confusion as life turns out to NOT be what he thought it was. So he wonders, WHAT IS LIFE? Nick is going trough an existencial “crisis” wich is not a negative crisis but just a re-evaluation of his “truths”, what he think life is, HOW HE DEFINES HIMSELF and those around him, ETC. BIG etc.

    – So, with this questions in mind, with NOTHING TO LOOSE, beaten by the world he lives in (illnes of his legs represents any deep deep hardships), he sets out to FIND THE ANSWERS for this questions.

    – He’s looking for truths that transcends trivialities and superficial stuff like a job, college, running… He’s askig himself those big fundamental questions.

    – So he starts taking in TONS of information, “for the truth has to be out there, isn’t it?” He keeps searching. In the real world, we may ask people, look in the internet, just think in bed, taking drugs, going to therapy, changing radically our way of life…) The point here is, he care’s enough about himself (about the truth, not what he’s
    been thinking up to that point, wich is fading away as his body is) to go trough the trouble, and exercise, effort, of finding good, heavy, sense-making, heart satisfying

    – Those tons of info are basically missinformation, half truths and just loads of Bullshit. Yeah, the truth is not easy to find if you give up with the first explanations that you find, like we’re all basically a meaningless consequence in the complex universe we die in, a god created us, or any other EXPLANATIONS OR ANSWERS THAT DOESN’T seem fit to him. But he keeps going, doesn’t he?

    – He fights the fuck out. Nothing of what he’s being told satisfies him. He mainly cares about one thing. His heart. His feelings. His femenine side. Represented of course by Haley. He tries to FEEL something. He tries to take his feelings out of the prision that they are being kept, kidnapped, SEDATED. SE – DA – TED. Are you familiar (whoever is reading this) with not feeling shit? Well, I am, hence, this interpretation.

    – But the control is too great. We always knew, watching the movie, that he could do nothing against the army in there. We know the power behind those guns, don’t we? More guns, bigger guns, helicopters. They don’t even need to show them in the movie. He is POWERLESS. He’s WEAK. Even though he takes his heart with him, his heart is too sedated for too long, confused, takes time for her to answer, doesn’t really seem to be aware of what’s happening, a random guy ALMOST KINDNAPs her back just IN ONE SECOND when he’s not looking to her. The danger is real, and it’s big.

    – And that is important (the truck kidnaping) as it simbolizes that he goes back to normal life, everyday life, working or school or whatever people do. Yes, he ends his
    “panic attack”, his great moment of existencial crisis and goes back to normal life. But what does he see? Fuck ups. He sees people unaware of their reality. They are waaaaay off in their minds. They represent people who do not question their lifes, that there may be another way for humans to live. The represent everyday consumers, they represent consumers of junk food and junk TV, of junk news and junk people consuming junk people. He’s not like that anymore. He now SEES his word in a different light: The world is a barren wastland with unaware people living in it. And none happy, as you see in the movie. Every detail. Remember when he got into the bar? The guy throwing ketchup or something with desdain, the girl has been perverted to the extent of painting her fuking face ridiculously because that seems to be attractive, those people REPRESENT OUR SOCIETY.

    Yes, in this new light, to Nic people seem controlled zombies and the city a fucking dessert.

    – “Fuck!”, he thinks to himself, “I didn’t know we were so DEEPLY LIED TO, and that we lived so UNCONCIOUS to this truth that we’re being manipulated so hard…” But what to dooooo…? What to dooo…? Nada. Nothing. Zero. He’s powerless against the agents of the state. I mean, area 51 OFC… Notice how the agents put smoke against him and the limits of his consciousness, bacause smoke blurs. It’s a smoke screen. Basically, fundamentally, that’s a screen. Thats a faking TV.. xd xd xd xd DOESN’T IT MAKE SENSE? Just keep in mind that no single detail or piece of dialoge is by chance or to fill time. Everything has its meaning. Look for it. Why a lame ass alien, why a creepy lame ass hut in the woods? I have my own answers to be discussed and veryfied, truthseeking always, but i would write too long a comment, wouldn’t i?

    – So he’s about to get cought because he is in a truck againt bullets, and the truck crashes. No, HE CRASHES. BUT WHAT HAPPENS? THAT LITTLE SEQUENCE IN wich he reconciliates his femenine side with his actions, what happens then? (i mean, when she gives him THE HEART COLLAR) He starts knowing that he’s fuking STRONGER THAN THEM. HE DOESN’T NEED A FUKING CAR OR ANY FAKING ANYTHING TO SCAPE OR FACE THIS PEOPLE. HE ACTUALLY GOES TTRROOUUGGGHH THEM. TTRROOUUGGHH THEM. (that comes later xd ) Thing is, after his THOUGHTS sacrificed so he could go on with his journey (the glasses guy, way more geeky than him), after he finally reconciliates with his heart, he – takes – action. But action with his WHOLE SELF working toghether. He’s unlocked his courage, his self steem, he feels that he actually has power… he unlock the power of a human mind WOTHOUT FEAR OR CONTROL. HE’S TOO POWERFULL NOW FOR ANY BULLETS OR ANY cars in his way. Ofc this is represented by his uber legs xd. AAAAAANNNNDDDD HE JUST RAMMS THE FUK OUT. BUT NOT OF THE AGENTS, NO, THEY DONT MATTER. BY THE FORCE OF HIS WILL, ALIGNED THOUGTS AND CARE, CRASHES TROUGH THE ILLUSION of THIS LIFE AND TRANSCENDS TO ANOTHER REALITY.


    Allow me to cath my breath.



    This movie is just another try of people who already woke up to try to get others to wake up. People, think about it: In our world, there are no aliens, no machines. There’s just people. Some people have knowledge, some don’t. The ratio seems to me to be about 95% have NO CLUE, 5% have this knowledge. A 1% of population has dominance over the other 99%? Have you ever wondered WHY? Well, this movie doesn’t tell you why. It just tells you, the game is rigged. Wake up, people, seriously. Or you think its ok to live in a world where most people die? But lets take it closer to europe and usa (and just places with money, i basically mean), here, between people, communication is just broken, so many people are plain out SAD, cronically it seems. Have you ever wondered WHY? IN THE ANSWERS LIES THE POWER TO UNLOCK YOURSELF. TO GET RID FROM THIS CHAINS, FROM THIS FORM OF MENTAL CONTROL. RAISE ABOVE THIS BULLSHIT, do not stop wondering why, and i tell you, you will find the truth just as nick did. you just have to get your ass to it, your will I mean. To act. Your actions will take you there. Not thinking about it. Not wishing it so very hard, with your face sweating in pure olympian effort, no… It has to come from you, either fueled by your initial-just-accepting-what-you-have-known-for-so-long rage and then by love for the human being. because we all want that everybody is ok. i dont want my fucking shoes made in a child factory, ok? AM I FUKING CRAZY? I WOULD BE CRAZY TO BUY SUCH MONSTRUOSITY. BUT WE DO, I DO IT –> WE’RE STUPIDLY BLIND. JUST, the world we live in, how little our consciousness are, kept in check by fear and by pointing out or differences instead of our similarities. Seriously, this movie is basically saying:


    (i know it’s desert but i thought it was fanny)
    Look for what consciousness is in youtube or google or whatever. Here is WHY i interpreted the movie in such way: I think that human consciousness is made by 3 parts, the 3 characters represent each part. Thoughts (geek guy), emotions (Haily) and action (Nick). The movie is an analogy of the our real world. See trough the aliens. Raise your ability to understead the patterns.

    Me out.

  70. Ansset Miller

    I forgot a couple important things. Just 2. He wakes up to a dark city that’s too close to the sun for comfort (looks like, to me). And this city is black, and full of lights. That could be any HUMAN city, couldn’t more clearly represent one. And notice that after breaking free from the illusion world, he is put in scenes where light is emanating from him. Right after he breaks free, and then THE WHOLE spaceship is going to another point of light. This is called enlightment. As much humilliation as this word has suffered, it still has its use. Maybe the light is showering him, dunno.

    Hope this is read by at least one soul in the planet, but no problem if it doesn’t, because it helped me settle some concepts, making me better at interpreting movies.

    Well, have a good one!

  71. Damon

    They were never abducted in the traditional sense, just picked up for study like everyone else. They didn’t ‘go’ to space, they were already there, just like everyone else on the planet has been forever. The true Earth is literally what we see in the final shot, and as hokey as it sounds, a nod to the flat earth society. A.I. has been studying us, and will continue to. I think it’s that simple an explanation for the base plot.

  72. R2

    That horrible horror movie the signal from 2007 is actually an amazing piece of work. And anyone who listens to your suggestions of not watching it are missing out.

  73. Manfred Alvery

    Ansset Miller is on a good track.

    Putting it more succinctly, the subliminal message of the movie (as with Plato’s Cave, Pohl’s Tunnel Under the World, etc.) is not to merely understand the enlightenment of the character in the movie, but to re-map the movie back on to oneself as allegory, i.e. to take it as a hint that there is a larger play at foot in the ‘real world’ in which we are ignorant actors (a few intelligent ones having potential for similar enlightenment). Our banal ‘real world’ is not at all banal. We are ourselves also within something so stupendous, that those few science fiction writers who know of it, dare not tread too closely to it in their fiction (Helliconia Summer is close).

    However, beware the temptation to conclude a Deus Ex Machina. There is no need for aliens, gods, fifth dimensions, or the supernatural, etc. Things can be stupendous quite easily without them.

  74. Shelby

    Literal meaning all the way, but not without understanding that the story and characters are written in a certain way on purpose. The journey he goes through, both allegorical and literal, is very important. So it’s my belief that you don’t have to separate the theories because all are represented well.

    I personally really liked it (some of these commenters didn’t seem impressed) but I also didn’t try to guess what was going on which is my preferred way to watch sci-fi and other mind-bending movies. Guessing a twist is the worst thing and totally ruins a movie for me (which is what I accidentally did while watching The Prestige and I’ll never forgive myself for it!). The rush I get from plot twists is why I seek out shit like this. Thanks for the suggestion!

  75. James Osguthorpe

    I have some input. It is incomplete but I haven’t seen anyone touch on this yet.

    NoMad. He asked if Nick is Agitated in his emails.

    They test if the cow gets agitated by music.

    When Nick gets extremely agitated his legs glow. The same for his friends hands when he smashes the ground.

    NoMad keeps asking Nick to calm down.

    I think this might be relevent?

    I hope this helps.

  76. Nick

    Hey y’all nick here! Sorry to say guys but You have all gotten it wrong. Even Taylor. Do you want the truth the red pill or the dream the blue pill? Nomad is Morpheus and Nick makes his own destiny in the movie and chooses the blue pill. And the signal represents this message. Usually people take the red pill or a false truth and wake up in the matrix as The movie take place in the universe of multiple universe as most Hollywood movies due to canon rules and perspective laws. Nick is bipolar in the movie and none of the aliens are actually real. It is located in the matrix universe you know that right? And thus the biblical themes. The movie could be real yet in fact the truth is it is justttttt a movie. And the movie shows the Powertalk of Hollywoods imagination. Me, The real nick has blue eyes the Hollywood avatar was made with brown. Nick breaks past the matrix by running fast but this is just a movie depicting what the real Nick an actual cross country runner can someday achieve. How fast can man travels see the three minute mile… The cinematically and green screen abilities in this movie make me the real nick belief that NASA has the same capability an is using thy green technology to dope the masses into believing in the sphere earth model. To understand this signal, you must understand that Nick memorized a poem called IF by rudyard Kipling for his earthly father. God the father is the father of heaven as well. Amen, Nick a son of god and child of god chosen is a christian, and yet this movie is like a vision of the future a revelation. In the poem “if” plz read the poem to understand this theory, it states that if you can fulfill the everlasting moment with sixty seconds worth of distance run then the world is yours and everything that is in the world and that he would be a Man – My son. This the movie was made like a Truman perspective for me, the real nick. I am the real cross country runner. And much more, My theory. I ran a Half marathon yesterday. Breaking through the matrix is represented as breaking through the fabric of reality, yet it isn’t necessarily that way for me. It is more like trying to break free INTO a system of truth and love. Love for his future wife and love for the truth. Nick believes in the bible and jesus and he has been called a conspiracy buff. He actually believes the world is flat and nasa Might be lying though unsure of course as he has doubts. Thus it was a fitting ending for nick to find himself breaking free from the matrix and into the truth… that he is on a flat earth he was living in the real heaven with satan as the false prophet Morpheus or nomad. and In a matrix not an alien ship! Yet here is where you are all wrong about the alien theory. Not Aliens but hell. He breaks the plane which creator god built for man in the matrix and find hell much like neo did in the matrix. He runs to the end of the world and find the truth hell on the outside. of course he turns back into heaven and He wakes up to find that breaking through the matrix leads to hell thus he chooses to not take the red pill from nomad but the blue and not allow his dreams to master him as the poem “if” states. Nicks has a crush on a girl named Taylor thus the Taylor Holmes website name. Taylor is represented by one girl in the film and the other nicks wife…a running story….but just a theory. Thanks for reading.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Holy Crap – that is literally the single best comment ever on THinc. Ever. What the heck just happened? I need a comment primer on the primer I’m so confused.

      Well played Nick – Good on ya.

  77. Nick

    Introduction to comment Signal, introduction a 28 yr Man named nick listening to old radio program in sweat pants and a running jacket enters his car. Scene Radio Show am Talk show midnight in a jeep. The cars starts rummmmmmm radio On. Car lights switch click starts….. Radio Voice:… “So you are saying in the movie the matrix and a book called be here now by ram dass there is the suggestion that man and women can somehow break past reality -??? Like the space time continuum born to run The runner with speed the lifter with strength the emotional with auras the strong willed with perserverance the intelligent with mental powers etc but the godly with holiness and living a good long life to their death and rebirth in spirit eternal? Nick speaking .. Yes I agree pastor also but my wish was people to be the latter of these yet there is the devil who constantly masquerades as an angel of light. Until evil is destroyed Forever, people will continued to be tempted and to live in darkness. I think the bible mentions the matrix right? And if there are angels doesn’t that make the matrix welllllll another name for that encompasssing spiritual world.The pastor: well I think we are ready for a caller final thought nick? Nick: blessings will be gifts from grace that we have and share from god and to one another. Peace hope love truth.. Last thought “If” you Put your faith in the world and you will receive a reward from the world… Faith in greater things of heaven will be heavenly, love one another and be confident …..Those who are called chosen and faithful… Scraaaatch radio buzzzzz off. Nick drives off to run at the gym the treadmill thinking of how he messed up with his gf last week and how he had to break up with her. Life seems so tough not easy they say, well I say it is easy. These are three great thoughts : aren’t they? those who marry were chosen and those who are single chose to be so. You never know what you got till it’s gone. And you got to learn to hold your own . .. Nicks last thought as he starts running on the treadmill.
    – nick

  78. Ewalley

    Just saw The Signal on cable. Enjoyed reading the blog and all the interesting comments. The Signal seemed a fairly standard alien abduction movie to me. They were performing medical and psychological experiments on abductees in their quest for knowledge. The cow scene fit right in to my way of seeing things, as aliens would naturally be interested in any important species on a planet, both humans and other mammals. I saw several comments about Haley’s necklace. What I saw was her handing it to Nick while they talked at the edge of the canyon. But I have a burning question. I cannot see an alien face behind the tree in the video. Is there one there? If there is, where is it? The top? Bottom? Middle? Is it big, small? I will sleep more easily tonight if someone can please tell them where that face is! If there is a face!

    • Warbler

      Hey, it is a very small head, located through the branches. Press pause it might be necessary… but honestly don’t lose sleep over such a detail ;)

  79. Alex

    I disagree with a lot of what has been written abouto this movie. It’s seems pretty clear that after the shack all the humans encounterred (including Nick himself) are clones. The aliens are trying to fuze their technology with human will power which becomes active as the subject becomes agitaed. This is why the trucker can’t remember family names, Haley is acting strange, Jonah feels like a part of himself is missing, and nomad is so interested in running a series of mental tests on Nick. Nick is the only example of a completely successful outcome of this alien preject we see in the movie, he has completely retained his memories, mental faculties, and has complete control over the alien technology in his legs.

  80. T3rrO10k

    Here’s something to ponder. It’s easy to figure out the logic behind Nic’s legs being replaced. However, Jonah has his hands and forearms replaced which cause him frustration, as in the scene when he’s trying to work the laptop to lower the concrete stops. It would’ve made more sense for the aliens to modify his eyes given those coke bottle glasses he wears. As for the gal, go figure.? Perhaps it’s an on/off button for some ability that is yet to be developed. Hence the reason she was carried off during the climatic end scene.
    Enjoyable movie that can cause a person to blow a circuit by trying to figure it all out. Best to just take it at face value. Don’t mess with hackers or you’ll get owned (as Nomad had warned them in an earlier email).

  81. Es

    The article is a comeplete waste of time. Came here to learn something knew about the movie I found fairly interesting. After reading your garbage article I am beginning to think the movie sucked. lSD bomb are you out of your freaking mind or on drugs. What kind of idiot goes on to write I personally think the signal meant this and later on verifies the statement with the writer did indeed confirm the signal was what they are searching for. I am sorry I have not read something this dumb in a while and had to put in my two cents. My theory is this, if you spent months talking about this movie then you are an idiot.

    My input, I believe the cow was there to see how Jonah and his arms are capable of. Reason being because the door opens in the back of the room and the music was for Jonah to get agitated. Which then he throws his chair at the window and presumably breaks through a wall and eventual escapes causing damage and chaos throughout the building. Thanks.

  82. Jim Everett

    William Eubank did a mediocre job of direction unless his goal was to confuse his audience. Think of a movie as a journey that the director and the audience take together, with the director as the guide. But if the director wants the audience to come with him (or her) they probably need to give them a hint of where you’re going. And then you need to be sure that each step of the journey helps get you there. I was still trying to figure out where we were going. Sometime confusion isn’t genius, it’s just confusion.

  83. Tyler B

    They are in a computer that’s wy nothing works all the cans are empty they are just place holders also wy the bathroom stall doors and walls are missing much like when you go somewhere your not supposed to in a video game the red suitcase is the recycling bin or the only software that can kill and get rid of the uploaded consiousness as we see Jonah gets shot twice with a m16 but in the next scene his gunshot wounds are gone. the pistol from the red suitcase kills two people that we see. The people that seem mentally I’ll are like that because there consiousness was not successfully uploaded that’s wy jonah says he feels like gaps are missing and wy Hayley is acting off Nick seems to be the only normal one besides his legs he may be the first successful upload of consiousness to a computer and that is wy nomad is so interested in him and asking him stupid questions he says the colors have an emotional response with him but at that point it should be a binary response. The whole movie is about hackers and computers it’s also the twist that seems to have flown over everyone’s head.

  84. Mike K.

    I’m not reading through all these comments, an I’m late to the party, but when you said that there were 3 versions of the ending, only the last one was the one that I knew you would come up with.
    The first 2 def are not even close to being right, sorry.
    You totally missed on the most debated answer to the ending, which is that they were NOT on an alien ship, but on a human one. It’s obvious due to the numbers on the back on the space craft being in human English. An alien craft wouldn’t have numbers that we could read on the back.

  85. youtube is great

    This was written on youtube. Its a theory I never saw on here and seems very plausible.

    “1. The movie is a video log of compiled clips made by Damon from his observations both remote and in person as he manipulates human participants who have received various types of alien technology grafts – The girl has an almost undetectable graft in her nervous system that allows Damon to control her words and actions in which he determines her value to other people in the experiment as a measure of human emotion. Other grafts are more obvious and Damon observes the extreme anger felt when a coder’s perfectly good hands are replaced with what seems to be horrifyingly useless mechanical hands – but the anger doesn’t induce homicidal rage – the cow isn’t harmed, and he is allowed to escape, with Nic soon following after he too realizes his grafts – a realization that must be forced on him as he subconciously refuses to come to terms with what’s under the wheel chair blanket… when he tries to escape he MUST STAND to enter the code into the last door – the key pad is high, very high, much higher than other key pads shown earlier – Damon tries to induce the use of the super legs in Nic by escaping with the girl – but he must push Nic harder. 2. Damon repeatedly uses the same group of test subjects with substantial memory erasing and implants. The “flash backs” are not flashbacks, they are memory implants that Damon uses to establish base relationships between the people in the experiment. The longterm effects of doing so are evidient in the old woman and truck driver, both of whom are finally euthanized (the truck driver’s child like demeanor is evidence of how long he has been there – since he was a child) 3. The appendage grafts are in fact very dangerous due to the power to harm or destroy they grant the user. Therefore the whole point of the experiments are to find a way to have a human accept the grafts without inducing homicidal psychosis NOR egotistically overbearing God complex that loses any sense of fairness or compassion. Jonah is given several chances to constructively use his hands – in each case his anger at being the unwilling participant in what he thins are govt experiments imposes a mental block preventing him from creating the neural links to precisely use the fingers of the hands. We see Damon give him one more chance – a lap top placed precisely where he will happen upon it with only moments to spare before military guards overtake them. He must type quickly, precisely, on the laptop keys, intricate coding to hack out of the closed network and into a public domain… but again he fails and resorts to brute force with the fisted hand smashing the earth with earthquake like force. Again, such grafts received for any other reason than compassion would cause the user to become a villain in the end. 4. Damon finally gets it right, inducing Nic to accept his legs and use them, to run.. faster than a bullet fired from an M16… faster than the speed of sound – running to simply be with the girl he cares for – not to save her – she was just in a horrible truck accident and a medical helicopter going to a hospital is the best thing for her- he is running after her as he can’t bare the though of her feeling abandoned by him had he not tried – elements induced in him from her reaction to him breaking up with her to so she would be free of his handicap. 5. There are multiple scenes where Nic momentarily is confused by how the context, time of day, or clothing worn, has changed from one moment to the next – the break up scene (and the bridge in the background the movie concludes at a few days later) are proof they are already in the habitat since the very first scene. The abduction is staged to provide a scenario reasonable for the quarantine and forced isolation that occurs after. 6. Watch the movie three times – from the perspective of hidden micro cameras to which Damon observes and controls everything and you will see the true nature of the film.” – Jeff T

  86. Wizard

    I interpreted it to be a study of complex human emotion by aliens. As advanced as they are, there’s still a place for pens – simple mechanical tools – which is a microcosm for human emotion. As advanced as the aliens are there’s still a place for human emotion. That place is in grafting emotion with their technology. They have the tech we have the means of controlling the tech and bringing out it’s extreme power. Controlling that power is the challenge.

  87. Jedi Dwight

    main themes:
    human integration with technology

    old, pre-internet world clashing with new post-internet world

    are we the aliens or are they us? how do we know Damon wasn’t human once and in order to buy HIS freedom, he has to use his neural net upgrade to test other human subjects

    loss of innocence: nic lost legs, jonah lost arms, did they really GAIN anything with the new tech? maybe physical strength but it did not help them deal with the pain of having the curtain pulled back

    futility: it was all just and endless loop of experiments that left humans insane and aliens wanting more

    what do humans have that’s worth learning about by an advanced species besides how to kill us off?

    It was enjoyable, predictable garbage – typical of most modern film.

    overall grade: C-

  88. Robyn T

    What if they really were in an Area 51 facility? It makes sense either way, Area 51, they would test previously abducted cows, aliens historically in alien myth abduct cows and maybe experiment on them. If he is in the facility and safe, but picked up by one of their drone aliens when he escapes (which is why she glitches and says were coming for you), then she is picked up and then says to the real Alleged nomad we’re coming for you. After he gets above ground, leaves the facility he gets driven to and then taken back away by the aliens who have a drone clone of the real Laurence Fishburne. The agitated part mirrors what was said of Nomad, and I don’t get that except maybe they think Nic will be the perfect candidate to stop them inside the area 51 facility, doing whatever they’re doing that leaves floors bloodied by their subjects?

  89. Robyn T

    And it’s analog everything so the aliens can’t hack into the facility? Is it a spaceship or a hard drive?

  90. Nicole F

    My first thought, when he broke through the glass, was that he was inside a computer’s hard drive. What was the deal with Damon putting the fish back in the fish bowl?

  91. John Winder

    Just watched the Signal again for the second time. Still makes very little sense.
    The ending where we find out that it’s a large alien spaceship/station is confusing because the numbers printed on the side are English
    numerals just like on Nic’s wrist. Aliens would have their own numbers!
    Another thing that I wonder about is this; how does Nic get the pendant that the girl throws away in the canyon?
    Thirdly Aggggh, someone please tell me why?


    I’ve read every comment here(yes) and watched the movie for the first time.

    After reading several hundred thoughts and opinions of like-minded people discussing an intentionally ambiguous film, I came to an inspiring-surreal conclusion.

    What movies like “The Signal” emphasize -(IMO)- is that the persistent nature of life cannot be emulated, virtualized, or contained, and is our most valuable trait. An organic virus will mutate continuously for its entire existence until it reaches homeostasis. A 21st century virtual virus may execute several hundred logic-based attempts at a task but will reach a point where it cannot proceed due to unpredicted circumstances. The Signal’s “aliens” are a future society where logical thought, profit-driven science, and possibly egotism have resulted in a purging, accidental or intentional, of natural traits such as “the human will.” It may be surmised that these apparently synthetic organisms are facing a challenge that their advanced technology cannot circumvent and thus are harvesting natural components.

    Someone previously mentioned the following and i’m re-stating because of its significance:

    There is an early arcade scene where a human is using a mechanical crane arm to reach a toy alien prize. This to me represents the pursuit of the “unknowns” in life. Another example is ~40,000 people leaving comments with theories for a movie that provides some illusion of mystery in a reality that is uncomfortably predictable. The movie plot features aliens who are using mechanical arms/legs/spine..thing to reach a human prize. To the alien society, this “will power” is an unknown variable they too are pursuing. It makes me worried about a future where all the questions have been answered – what will we wonder about then?

  93. Ariadne

    Hi there – I love all of the theories I’ve read so far, but it’s so much later now from when this movie came out that I skipped to my comment about halfway down. I just watched it for the first time, though, and I found it to be one of the better movies I’ve watched in awhile. I also love that it has invoked so many comments. So here’s my take, which isn’t totally dissimilar from some others:

    First of all, I think the only thing alien in this movie is the tech used to grab them at the shack and the tech OF the spaceship/station itself and the alien tech integrations, etc. I too thought looked a lot like an IP address, which I think gives a wonderful dual richness to the first theory still being viable – they never left the shack. That said, I like the literal view better because I think it’s more interesting, except that I don’t think it’s aliens – it’s the REAL Area 51.

    Not only were certain numbers lit up at the end on the space station, but you don’t need that at all, anyway: 2 + 3 + 5 + 41 = 51, of course. I see no logical reason why aliens would use Arabic numbers on their space station (or mimic an IP address) – none.

    The date seen that someone else mentioned – 1947, as I recall was the year the Roswell incident happened (weather balloon or no, who knows?). This movie seems to suggest we have an answer: YES, Roswell was about aliens, and it changed everything for the US government – in secret. They used the technology to build that space station.

    I also think the retro tech we see there is a huge hint as to how long that space station has been out there – at least since the 60s, maybe even the 50s. I paid close attention to that and DID notice just as the director has mentioned that it’s a montage of dated stuff – from different times, including modern.

    For instance, the juke box didn’t look that old, though it actually IS out-of-date these days, but not by a lot. Yet the older woman’s car (sorry I don’t know old cars well enough) is from the 60s? Maybe late 50s? One of the semis looked to be maybe from the 70s or 80s, and the other could be earlier or later – it was a Peterbilt as I recall and they can have an older design and be quite new, so I ‘m not sure about that one and didn’t get a good enough look. The pen is a classic from the 80s, 90s, and maybe early 2000s. They may still be made, not sure.

    I do think all of that is a hint as to how long the US government (sorry I have no reason from the movie to believe other governments were participating, especially since it’s strongly suggested that this started with Roswell) has been doing this. Doing what? Abducting humans and cows of course and taking them to the space station.

    In any case, it would make sense that they’d have a montage of tech from different eras over the years. And Jonah was probably supposed to test his hands out on that poor cow, but he’s not that kind of guy, so he ran, instead. And they probably brought a space shuttle full of crates and crates of those pens to the station in the 80s, hah. Of course they’d use those up while they still worked and there were still crates of them. The older woman was probably abducted along with that car of hers, when the car was new or a few years old, maybe. And she’s been changed so much with alien tech that aging isn’t something to take into consideration. The trucker guy was probably nabbed in the 80s or late 70s.

    I do like what someone posted about the legs and arms being gifts, and picking up on the pleased Damon/Nomad when Nic broke out to the edge of the station.

    And I do think the huge concern with the stuff coming out of noses and then shooting the test subjects is all about some kind of alien gene mesh with humans and/or takeover of the human mind completely _somehow_, which would be something that makes a LOT of sense for Damon, et al, to get scared about, as quite/mostly human (or at least in the mind) Area 51 employees. They want the advantages of alien tech, but NOT the aliens themselves.

    Of course the little grey man behind or in the tree just shows the view of aliens the US government…Area 51…gave to humanity back in the late 40s and forward. Maybe the dead alien bodies at Roswell really looked like that (in the context of this movie). But as the Roswell story is supposed to go, they only found dead or dying aliens. Again in the context of this movie, I gather that they never did interact with any aliens other than their technology and dead bodies.

    And yes, Damon/Nomad showing himself off at the end to Nic is I believe him telling Nic, “You’re going to be here a LONG time, Nic, changed with alien tech just like I’ve been (maybe not just like, obviously), and you’ll probably be the director of this place someday, or at least a key player.” I DO think that it is a test, and Nic passed it.

    The others who had been there awhile were not sane from their alien changeovers and probably degraded/got that way over time – and once it was clear that the alien tech or DNA or whatever had fully hit the brain, they could no longer be trusted. The LAST thing the government would want is an alien foothold situation on the Area 51 space station.

    Alas, I have no certain answer for the necklace/charm – one of the better answers is that…they never left the shack. A secondary answer might be that Area 51 personnel sucked that thing up when they grabbed the three of them, and had been watching them WAY more closely than anyone realized, even with the video early on – the surveillance was worse than even that.

    Actually I really like the secondary explanation way more. It keeps with a more literal explanation than the LSD/never left the shack thing, which I really like, but I think the director wanted it to go either way, so he seems to have made sure that everything still had the subtle details for an Area 51 thing. Area 51 actually being in space is a fantastic ruse the US government would LOVE to have accomplished in reality, heh, I’m sure.

    Also, keep in mind that Damon/Nomad says near the end – “…the perfect integration of human will and alien technology, our finest achievement.” Why would aliens say that about their own tech? Doesn’t make any sense, just like the Arabic numerals on the station. BTW, did you notice the dust goes up in the shack before we ever see Hayley taken up (can’t remember how her name was spelled in the credits or on here so I’ve gone with the spelling of a friend who spells it this way)? I noticed it and definitely expected some strange crap to happen next…and one way another, it did!

    I did want to make a comment about Nic’s degenerative illness. If it’s starting at that age, one possible or likely explanation may be MS – Muscular Sclerosis (MS usually starts presenting anywhere from 20-something to 40-something).

    As some very serious coincidence for me personally, I have recently been diagnosed with MS, which has been mentally devastating for me, as well as physically tough adjusting as the symptoms grow worse (it can degenerate fast or slow – I probably had it for years but now I have symptoms that do not go away and are not-gradually-enough getting worse). FYI, the “sclerosis” part means scarring – MS causes lesions/scars on the brain as the fatty myelin coating of nerve cells gets stripped away by what is an autoimmune problem – the body does it to itself. *sigh*

    In any case, that made this movie more personal and poignant for me, though of course I’d rather it hadn’t been (I’d rather not have MS obviously).

    Thanks everyone for your theories and comments – I’ve really appreciated your insights and it helped me form my own opinions and dive deeper into this movie, which I definitely think it’s worth. I really did watch the movie just before finding this site, and I’m glad I found it! Thanks Taylor, and everyone!

    Oh, and PS, where’d that sequel go?!? It’s 2019 and I really wanted what was happening to Hayley to be further explored…!

  94. Mike

    Good write up (the person posting above me). Just want to add that the reviewer was wrong about there being no “signal” that only certain people could hear. Twice in the movie (once at the visitor center above the canyon) Hailey did hear something that Nic could not. I don’t think it’s very important but I only saw it once and I remember that.

    I thought the cow was an “homage”, if you will, or a very slightly tongue in cheek poke at the so-called cow abductions. Of course there would be a cow ;) I think it was nothing more than that.

    I didn’t notice the necklace. Could be bad editing, could have been something else. It’s the only thing I see mentioned here that I missed.

    As for the Arabic numerals, if the aliens had used their own symbols they would have blown their cover to the captives. Instead, they made their “tattooed” serial numbers resemble IP addresses, I suppose, which is something that is familiar to the captives.

    The aliens aren’t just studying us, they are experimenting with making human/alien hybrids. Why is anyones guess. Perhaps the aliens are machines that we created and are now experimenting on us? They do appear very mechanical, as do the legs and hands on our altered heroes.

    From what I could tell the aliens are not biological beings. They appear to be more like machines. Then again, that’s exactly what we are – nothing more than the some of perfectly arranged proteins, metals, calcium, carbon, and other matter. Just like a machine!

    Cool movie!

  95. Lem

    All those three theories are wrong.
    -By film producer principle there is all real and the character is not dreaming or crazy, so each shot (even visual effects, actors, etc) have a meaning just like the “literal view”. [Cameron wont create a copy of the Titanic ship and dedicate 90 percent of the movie to it, if it was all a Jacks dream] So it was not a Nic dream or LSD or anything like that.
    -By film director principle there are no gaps or doubts, what he shows that is. Like Pesci would say: it is what it is. There is no double meanings or hidden messages or anything like that. The number/tatoo in the arm is the serie number of the spaceship, just like NCC-1701, from the spaceport of that planet. Also, there are nothing to suspect hilness, dream, or LSD again. Not mention at all, so… out of the window again.
    -By drama principle, this is a masterpiece. And here is when things are getting very interesting.
    1: The crazy people are not people at all. Are just rogues that need it termination and tryied to perform as a human very poorly. Them are creations by Damon, or some superior beeing.
    A: They do not have robotic enhacement.
    B: They try to simulate humans, but they cant.
    C: They are not intelligent as an MIT or Harvard guy.
    C: As any other simulation, in a chemistry lab, war simulation, virus program security, etc… when creating the enviorment we suppose what could it be a war against russia for example, so we “create” russian thinking and start a simulation. In a laboratory we try to test HIV for example, trying to create a human live cell (or monkeys). So… Damon, or a supirior, got that lab inside the ship full with simulation objects and humans. In fact, Damon create his own “mask”.
    D: Apparently this super laboratory for human testing was created in an earth visit around the 50s, and looking perhaps some rural country locations.
    2: REAL humans shows up at the bait/signal !!! there is no time, quickly create some kind of “laboratory” inside the super lab city.
    There is no time to create a whole city, so they just create the white lab and suits. Of course, there was no time to reset or kill all the other “simulated humans” that populates that super lab city.
    3: Subjects A B and C are REAL humans, they enhance them, and experiment 2 begins. Quote from Nomad : “i cant protect you UP there”. So, a lab inside a super lab.
    4: Nomad becomes a hunter, and in the mean time starts to put some order with his beautiful red briefcase.
    5: Subject B gets shot (red truck scene) so lab rats, are just lab rats.
    6: Subject C are fully recovered.
    7: Subject A, and protagonist, ESCAPE the super lab city.

    Here is when we realize that the SLCity was inside a spaceship.
    But there is something very important: Demon cant escape. He cant reach subject A once his gone.
    And this is not because lab scientists are not allowed to go around the vessel, hahaha, this is because the scientists was intelligent enough to create a puppet of himself.
    Yes. The so called Damon, Nomad, or robot x, was just a puppet.
    Who was the puppeteer? well, i guess he will be like a gray face between the bushes at night. Shocking to all.

    The white suit, not only for the scientist, also for subjects, are something to cover. This is a metaphor. The suits are so you dont shock looking at your legs, or looking at that gray face.
    And by time, Scientist could not complete a full “human sim puppet” so he cover it up with the suit too.
    The soldiers, and other lab scientists, are cover up too.
    The scene of subject B showing his hands to his friends, are a good analogy to understand that everyone with a suit is covering something.

    So, in the end we understand that we have 3 kinds of characters:
    – The scientists puppets, controlled by a gray alien puppeteeer.
    – The human like damaged sims.
    – The real 3 humans, and tests subjects like rats.

    By space or context we have 3 kind of places:
    – Earth, real as usual.
    – Huge city as a laboratory for experimentation about human feelings, emotions, etc.
    – A little laboratory, white, created quickly when suddenly the bait trap those 3 guys.
    – And a big spacecraft, for the gray beeings and puppeteers of all.

    The ned?

  96. Caty

    Loved this movie, and love this thread! This movie reminded both my husband and me of the SciFi movie Dark City. I’m not as big of a SciFi fan as my husband, so this movie catching his interest is a big compliment!

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Caty,
      Too funny! Planning to do a Dark City watch party for some of the Patreon members this Friday. Wow. Sounds like your husband and I would be fast friends. I miss him already. Let him know – that I miss him. Great.


  97. Ramón Guzmán

    There never were Aliens except Damon / Nomad. Everything was real before the abduction. Damon is a robot. They gave Nic his legs. They wanted to study the psychological effects on their subjects. We could infer that all other humans were the ones who followed the signal and it was a bait and they fell for it. Everything is so “50’s” because that’s the period of tech the Nomad aliens had of their earth studies.

  98. Ash

    I just watched last yesterday. Im not sure about most of the theories, but I had one that seems to be different than others. I took the signal to mean that aliens are listening to humans and will try to “help” them ( in their own jacked up way.)

    I felt that Nick was concentrating so hard and so stressed out about his legs and sometimes it looked as if he was asking for help from God.

    It came across to me as they “helped” Nick. But we as the audience are supposed to be thinking, ‘be careful what you wish for’.

    The signal was actually Nick asking for help…the aliens picked up HIS signal.

  99. Lou

    You are an asshole for your spoilers and the movie being old is not an excuse. Not everyone has the time, the access or the money you have had. Besides, there are people who are not old and literally have not had the time to watch all the classics they wanted to. I’d like you to improve as a person and you should be able to empathize with other cinephiles, instead of waiting to understand the feeling the moment it happens to you. The moment in which you find out about an old classic, you have been eager to reach it in your to-watch list, and someone ruins it for you because “it is old”. But if you don’t, I hope it happens to you.

  100. Shelby

    i mean you’re right that we should be more cautious with spoilers, but i think your approach (hostility and insults) isn’t really necessary

    there was a study that showed people tend to like a movie more if the ending was spoiled for them beforehand. i, however, really hate spoilers so i understand your frustration especially your remark about access/money. but you should still watch jacob’s ladder and i hope you enjoy it


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