The Signal Movie Review
A road trip takes a turn for the worse in The Signal, a stylish sci-fi pic that never quite finds its rhythm. From up-and-coming director William Eubank, The Signal will appease diehard sci-fi fans but leave general moviegoers asking, "That's it?"
A dude named Nic, played admirably by Brenton Thwaites, wakes up in a room to find himself wheelchair bound at the mercy of the federal government, and most notably a scientist who looks and sounds a lot like Morpheus (it may be because the scientist is played by Laurence Fishburne, but I'm not certain). What happened to Nic and why isn't he allowed to leave? That's the question.
The answer isn't as interesting as Eubank and co-writers Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio think it is.
The Signal looks great and shows that, with the right material, Eubank could excel. This isn't the right material, unfortunately. While generally intriguing, the story feels like a hodgepodge of better and greater movies. Further, none of the individual pieces work in synergy; the first act is a road trip with a mysterious ending, the middle act a rather bland interrogation/quarantine segment and the finale results in a ho-hum revelation that is not nearly as exciting as it is intended to be.
All that aside, if all that can be pushed aside, the movie operates at a fast pace and has a definitive style that is simultaneously slick and unobtrusive. The mystery keeps you intrigued, and even though the end result isn't awesome, you can't fault the filmmakers for trying.
The Signal is far from a disaster, but the story needed more meat, more originality and a less out-there ending.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.