The Signal (2008) Review
Written by: The Dude
You say you like movies? Really like movies? But then you go off and view stuff that passes for movies, simply because they had a camera, and the pictures talk and move. Well, I've got a movie for you that will restore your hope in filmmaking. It's called The Signal, and it's gonna knock your socks off.
It's December 31st in the city of Terminus. A mysterious signal (title!) is pumped out over the air. Televisions turn themselves on and broadcast it. Phone lines produce it instead of a dial tone. Oh, and the signal turns a fair amount of the populace into bloodthirsty maniacs. People who will randomly roam the hallways of your apartment building with hedge clippers, snipping at your throat! How does that not whet your appetite for an awesome movie?!?
The Signal is the brain child of three men, David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry. The film is presented in three parts, or "transmissions", each directed by one of the men, each wildly different in tone and situations, but all parts equally compelling. (Or awesome, depending on how much caffeine you've consumed). The first transmission tells the beginnings of the story, as Mya (Anessa Ramsey) leaves her lover Ben (Justin Welborn) and returns to her husband Lewis (AJ Bowen), who unfortunately has succumbed to the signal's power. Mya, has not, however, and the transmissions follow her, Lewis, and Ben on their journey through this world gone mad.
The second transmission, however, is the make or break point of this film. I thought it worked splendidly, mixing a pitch black humor to the proceedings that is much appreciated. (The wisest choice in the film is noticing that different people have different reactions to the events surrounding them, and the second story presents one of the better interpretations of what aforementioned signal is capable of). But the second part of The Signal is something that will put this films in the echelons of cult cinema, where hopefully it will be regarded as a classic.
The film is ultra low budget, and I mean this in a good way. Rare is the indie film that creates such scope with so little, but it makes you believe this signal is affecting everywhere in the globe. The actors, all unknowns (although they look like other actors you have seen before), do fantastic work with the script and the characters. At no point do you feel that the actors would rather be off remaking a Japanese horror flick for a studio. This is the movie they have chosen, and they perform with utmost sincerity. No frills to be found, but none are necessary.
I am completely jazzed by The Signal. (Bonus points to my brain for not crafting a lame pun about how The Signal has infected me). It has restored my faith in indie movies, especially horror films. (Even though it's not technically a horror movie, but the genre defying is what lands this flick in "Cult" sections). I hope this movie finds the audience it deserves because it's easily the best movie I've seen so far this year, and I can't wait to see what these directors have up their sleeves next!