Review

‘The Signal’ starts off similar to a found footage film that follows three college students, played by Brenton Thwaites (OculusMaleficent), Olivia Cooke (“Bates Motel,” The Quiet Ones) and Beau Knapp (Super 8), as they embark on a road trip looking for a mysterious hacker. During their cross country pursuit something happens as they start to close in and they suddenly wake up as prisoners in a government facility being questioned by Dr. Wallace Damon (Laurence Fishburne). From there, we get a head-trip science fiction story, building up to some pretty amazing action sequences and a thrilling finale. All this is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Director Will Eubank is working on a fairly limited budget. 

As a fan of science fiction, I really enjoyed ‘The Signal’, particularly Brenton Thwaites character, Nic. Right from the start, the film successfully showcases Nic’s intelligence and creates a grounded and well developed character that the rest of the cast can get behind. The relationship between the three main characters and what they are going through early on in the film is really what keeps things interesting, and continues to develop as the rest of the story unravels. The performances, motives, dialogue, all help to create these subtle and nuanced characters, the viewer can invest in. 

31b90d98127a268ced225366f0c266e1Once the movie hits a hard turning point, some more of the sci-fi elements begin to unfold, and we are introduced Laurence Fishburne’s character, Dr. Wallace Damon. The film manages to maintain the grounded and realistic tone established in the beginning largely due to the world built by writer/director Will Eubank and company. The set pieces are simplistic yet believable.  Despite the confusing layout and security of the facility, Nic begins to plot his escape and we start to find out just how intelligent he really is. All of this intentionally adds to a very contained, claustrophobic feeling, along with a sense of larger surrounding world.

This is definitely a film that is hard to talk a lot about without spoiling key plot points, that no doubt should remain unknown. If your a fan of smart science-fiction, focused on story and character development, then there’s a good chance you will enjoy ‘The Signal’. Not every twist and turn the story takes is “mind-blowing” but I found the plot intriguing. The world and characters Eubank has created along with a superb level of detail really help sell the premise and overarching story.

59b5e0f0-4d26-4ea0-bb78-0c75ae702e47‘The Signal’ may feel a bit slow at times, but the payoff is well worth it, and provides an ending that will leave you with plenty to think about. The action sequences are certainly few and far between but the build up and execution towards the end of the film is really impressive. Although this is only Eubanks second feature film, his experience as a cinematographer gave him the skills to map out the technicalities of these scenes. The story is true highlight of this movie, even though it may fall a little short for some. The film sets out to blend new age film techniques with a retro sci-fi story, using a very modest budget. In that sense ‘The Signal’ is a definite success. The best recommendation I have is to go to just go into this movie fresh and knowing as little as possible.

 



About the Author

Sean McAloon
I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can't keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for popculturemadness.com and darkmediaonline.com, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.