The Signal (2014)

Movie Title: The Signal

Year Released: 2014

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 1h 37min

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Director: William Eubank

Writer: Carlyle Eubank, William Eubank, and David Frigerio

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, Laurence Fishburne, Jeffrey Grover, Lin Shaye, Robert Longstreet,

Review: While on a road trip, Nic (Brenton Thwaites) and two friends (Olivia Cooke and Beau Knapp) take a detour to drop-in on a hacker that's hold-up in a secluded area. When they realize that things aren't quite what they appear to be, the trio suddenly blackout and awaken to find themselves under observation in a isolated research facility.

The Signal is a very stylish, sometimes too stylish, feature-length version of an Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, or One Step Beyond episode, but nowhere near as compelling or entertaining. The problem is that it should have been a short film or an episode of one of the aforementioned programs; it would have helped keep my attention.

Our lead character Nic (Brenton Thwaites) is rather bland as he tries to discover the truth about what happened to him and his friends and what the emotionless Dr. Damon (Laurence Fishburne) is not telling him. It's very mysterious and certainly keeps you guessing, but the uneven pacing and cryptic dialogue make the movie's mysterious nature more of an annoyance than an intriguing hook to draw the audience in.

It's not that the movie is bad, it's watchable, but it takes way too long to kick into gear, the wonderfully talented Olivia Cooke has almost nothing to do, and when secrets are finally revealed it's a bit of a let down. And by the end your scratching your head saying, "That's it?!" You feel like it didn't really have a complete story, or it was made to feel fractured so you were confused and lost throughout the story, much like its characters.

I really wanted to like this flick, but I was bored and frustrated for most of it. The Signal is certainly a unique sci-fi movie that excels with its visuals, but ends up being more style than substance.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Early in the movie, while in a motel room, an old b&w movie is playing. It's 1959s Teenagers From Outer Space.


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