The Signal Review

The Signal
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The Signal

Focus Features

Directed by: William Eubank
Written by: Carlyle Eubank, William Eubank & David Frigerio

Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Beau Knapp, Olivia Cooke & Laurence Fishburne

Synopsis: “Three college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour: the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. The trio find themselves drawn to an eerily isolated area. Suddenly everything goes dark. When one of the students, Nic (Brenton Thwaites of The Giver and Maleficent), regains consciousness, he is in a waking nightmare…” Courtesy of Focus Features

With very little blatant marketing, and having only recently seen the trailer, I didn’t really know what to expect going into see this film.What little preconceived notion I did have bore zero resemblance to the movie I just saw. It’s as if the people who made the trailer didn’t actually see the movie, or were possibly making a trailer for a new take on the 2007 horror flick The Signal, from a science fiction perspective. Either way the promo and the movie don’t quite add up. That being said, The Signal is full of intrigue, suspense, and is an overall strong dark sci-fi movie.

The Signal

Credit: Ursula Coyote/Focus Features

The story circles around 3 friends, our main focus Nic (Brenton Thwaites), his best friend Jonah (Beau Knapp), and Nic’s girlfriend Haley (played by the doe eyed Olivia Cooke, best known for her role on Bates Motel). The boys are driving cross country, taking Haley to Cal-Tech from MIT, where she’s decided to transfer. On the way they are taunted by a hacker known only as ‘Nomad’, and decide to confront him by following his signal.

They are completely unprepared for what they find, and even less so when they wake in an underground medical facility, held against their will by Laurence Fishburne’s character Damon, under tight quarantine. Now if you think I’ve dropped spoilers, fear not. I haven’t told you anything more than what you learn from watching the trailer. There are plenty of mind bending twists yet to be discovered. In fact, the Director was meticulously careful in making sure that you are as confused as the characters themselves, and discover the truths as they discover them.

The Signal

Credit: Ursula Coyote/Focus Features

The movie blends themes and references many other films of all genre types, from The Thirteenth Floor to The Blair Witch Project, yet manages to be it’s own entity. I appreciated most of the Director’s choices (save for the odd lens flair and a few seconds of misplaced shaky cam), and though I don’t agree with murmurs from fellow audience members citing loose ends, I definitely have a few questions left unanswered that I would love to ask. Overall I liked the flick. I will say that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are a fan of movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, you will likely be a fan of The Signal too.

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About the Author

Ruby LeRouge
is a long time slave to the Silver Screen, and all around media junkie, with a strong interest in the study and archival of classic cinema reels, scripts, press releases and props. A professional artist, dabbling in prop fabrication, costuming, and practical effects makeup in her spare time. She credits much of her artistic inspiration to her life long love of movies, and holds a special adoration for stop motion animation, film noir, and classic B movies. She writes a movie editorial blog called Sleepless Cinema, sharing her candid view on all media, new and old. Insomniac and cinephile, coffee swiller and media collector, has silver screen scream queen dreams, and she lives her life in technicolor. "While the world sleeps, I watch". - Ruby LeRouge
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