Review: THE SIGNAL (2014)
Three MIT Students find out that someone hacked their Computer System and want to track down the source of the signal. After driving through half the country, they can track the signal to a remote House in the middle of nowhere, which already looks pretty scary all by itself. Everything is dark and it doesn´t seem that someone lives here. But when they leave the House to return to their car, they make contact with something. And it doesn´t look friendly.
That´s absolutely all i want to say about the Plot in order to avoid some major Spoilers here. THE SIGNAL turns out to be totally different to what you would expect and is absolutely worth watching it! Some people I know were totally blown away, though i absolutely can´t share the Enthusiasm. And here is why:
The Movie is a SCI-FI Mix of various Elements and Styles, but lacks to put all that together to a functioning Plot. First, let´s take a closer Look at the Acting and the Characters.
The Acting is solid, though most of the leading cast played their Roles as unemotional as a Robot on Valium. Laurence Fishburnes Role is a great Addition to the Film, though it kinda is a carbon copy of his Role as MORPHEUS in THE MATRIX Trilogy. A big Problem is that apart from the lead Character, we hardly get any Characterization or Background for the two other Friends and sometimes, they only seem like very shallow one-dimensional stooges. Again, because i don´t want to spoil parts of the Plot for you, I won´t go into detail, but there are so many loose Ends in the Plot that it makes me angry. But they vanish and re-appear without a real Information about the Background, what was going on, who they actually are or why they do the things they do. The “Love Story” is totally UNBELIEVABLE and works so forced and unemotional, that she looks like she was sold to him by her Father.
While THE SIGNAL starts very strong and is able to keep the Viewer entertained for large Parts of the Movie, it totally loses it in the second half and “crowns” it with the Ending that basically copies other SCI-FI Movies like DARK CITY, CUBE or THE MATRIX, but without ever reaching their originality or attention to detail.
The Plot throws in so many things and little Subplots, that add absolutely NOTHING to the Storyline, just for the sake of clipping together a wide variety of Scenes that look impressive but lack a real meaning or right to exist.
At times, THE SIGNAL felt like some kind of Project-Reel for the Film Academy, that is supposed to show the great Variety of styles and Effects that Director William Eubank is capable of putting in one film. The Sound Effects were AMAZING and were among the Things that i DID like in THE SIGNAL. But There is a MASSIVE overuse of Slow-Motion Effects that look impressive, but totally destroy the narrative Structure. And combined with the Epic Soundtrack, it just makes you lose the feeling for the Film very fast.
The Budget is incredibly steep (4 Million) and if you keep that in mind, the whole “PROJECT” is absolutely impressive. The Movie is interesting that keeps you engaged, but when you finally find out what´s going on, it´s like the burst of a bubble that turns out to be nothing but a very long Music Video on VH1. And to be perfectly blunt, I think I´ve seen quite a bunch of Video Clips that are even better at telling a Story than this little Arts-Project.
The Movie is absolutely well directed, features impressive Visual Effects but if you forget that for a moment, there is not really enough Substance left to justify the Praise that THE SIGNAL is getting. I was SO not feeling the leading Cast in any Way, which was due to the incredible underdevelopment of most of their characters and so many strings weren´t picked up later on.
The whole Movie exists only because of the many Twists that are intentionally built around the Story in order to surprise the Viewer. Yes, the Movie kept me absolutely entertained because I was constantly wondering wtf was going on here. The Ending is interesting and I can´t say I disliked it, but overall, the movie is nothing but an accumulation of unrelated Scenes without any real efforts to create some good Storytelling. Not a bad Movie but not a great One either!
The Signal (2014) - 62%