Directed by William Eubank whose other films I haven’t seen but might look out for now, did a fantastic job of creating a really intriguing and equally unsettling atmosphere. I remember watching the trailer for this and stopping it halfway. I was sold and didn’t want to see any more. I had since forgotten why I wanted to watch The Signal, so going in I had no idea what to expect other than it was sci-fi.
Olivia Cooke (The Quiet Ones, Bates Montel) plays Hayley, Brenton Thwaites (Oculus, Maleficent) is her boyfriend Nic, who’s suffering from muscular dystrophy in his legs. A couple on a roadtrip with their friend Jonah played by Beau Knapp (Super 8) to take Haley to California, where she’ll stay for a year, a decision putting strain on her relationship with Nic who is in turn trying to distance himself from Haley due his disability and fear of her leaving him.
En route to California Nick and Jonah discover that the hacker NOMAD (who nearly got Jonah and Nick expelled for hacking into MIT servers), is spying on them and taunting them. Nic and Jonah decide to investigate after tracking NOMAD and find that his signal is coming from an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere.
This is when the film suddenly kicks up a gear and you go from teen drama to spooky to what the hell was that?! And that’s just the beginning!
Nic is knocked out and awakens in what appears to be a hospital, he’s in a wheelchair, very groggy. Enter Laurence Fishburne.
I’d love to go into more details at this point but I really feel like the less you know about it the more you’re going to enjoy it.
For a low budget sci-fi film (est $4,000,000) the effects are great, you can tell where the money went and that’s not to imply it looks cheap – far from it. They did a great job of creating the sterile environment.
I don’t know if the film is being promoted as a teen sci-fi but if it is and you’re not a teen don’t let that put you off. This isn’t Twilight in Space.
There were a couple of moments that I thought were unnecessary and a bit silly but those two moments aside The Signal is a thoughtful, engrossing and brain boggling film that I would definitely recommend.