Director: Will Eubank
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp and Laurence Fishburne
Run Time: 95 minutes
Though it got off to a bit of a leisurely start, director Will Eubank’s second feature is an entertaining sci-fi flick that brings home a strong finish. The Signal does better with a small budget than some films do with an unnecessarily oversized one. You can hear more about some of the cast and background of the film in my interview with Will. You can also hear a recap of that interview, along with an audio review on the June 8th episode of the Showcast.
The movie starts out with three young adults, Nic (Brenton Thwaites), Haley (Olivia Cooke) and Jonah (Beau Knapp), traveling across country. They decide to take a minor detour in order to intercept a hacker that they’ve seemingly been in contact with before. When the three arrive at the coordinates where they believe this hacker is, things get strange. All of a sudden Nic wakes up in some sort of facility surrounded by people in HAZMAT suits. Much of the movie from here on out begins with him being interrogated (in a calm way) by Damon (Laurence Fishburne) and finishes with him trying to figure out where exactly they are. You’ll have to check the movie out yourself to find out the answer.
So what did I think? The beginning of the film has a very different direction than the middle and end, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was a little antsy early on wondering when things would get a little more interesting. Then they did. And it was great.
There came a point about ten minutes before the end where I began getting antsy again. I started wondering how long they could continue in this direction. Not long after, things switched gears again and started grabbing my attention. I absolutely loved the ending. Some may not feel the same way, but it really brought things to a close and caught me off guard, even.
Overall, The Signal is a really interesting sci-fi flick that has a great cast and solid writing. I’ll definitely be giving it another watch in the future.
Official Rating: 7.75 out of 10
WARNING: Spoilers ahead. A lot of them.
So don’t read on if you haven’t seen the film or don't want to know what happens!
Last chance to turn back!
I’ll keep it brief, and feel free to comment below (make sure if you’re listing spoilers you warn everyone)! This is one I’ll look forward to watching again, now knowing that they’ve actually been abducted and everything was a front. The interesting part, to me, is wondering who exactly the various “town folk” were that popped up throughout the film. Were they robots, like Nomad? Were some of them other abductees? In my interview with Will, we touch on these various questions a bit. I enjoy that the film answered the main question: where are they? I also like the fact that there were bits and pieces during the journey that can be left to interpretation. I’ve seen this mentioned before, but the different enhancements made to Nic and Jonah gave me a little District 9 feel, which I enjoyed. During a Q&A with the director, Will Eubank, he mentioned the possibility of expanding on Haley’s power. Her having the mark on her neck left it a bit open-ended. This means that, if the budget allows, we could see a second installment down the line. A sequel to The Signal would definitely be a fun ride. It’d be interesting to see who else is on this enormous ship they’re in, where they’re going, what Haley’s newfound ability is and what’s to become of them.