On a cross country road trip, three friends decide to confront a mysterious ace hacker that has been plaguing and antagonizing them. Through technological methods far more complicated than anything this lowly reviewer could ever hope to understand, they trace the signal and find the location from where it originates. Then…well… shit goes ape-shit bananas crazy. I’m hoping that this is not a spoiler; indeed, the task of writing a succinct and cogent review of this movie is beleaguered by the threat of accidentally dropping a hint that will unravel everything, thusly stealing the joy from anyone who reads this before seeing the movie. The less you know, the better in this case.
What I can talk about with a clear conscience is what I enjoyed about this movie. With hints of science fiction homage scattered throughout, The Signal proves to be an intoxicating and taut experience that baits the viewer to jump at shadows and theories, to dissect and construct, to deduce and proclaim. That’s the fun of it all. At parts, the movie is genuinely creepy. Everything from the lighting of certain scenes to the pacing of the dialogue effectively leads to an ominous feeling that something terrible is afoot. The sets help move the story along at a tone that works very well for the story. It all works so well together. The three leads (Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke and Beau Knapp) effectively convey the sense of incredulity and surprise as the story unfolds and, in probably his best role since The Matrix, Laurence Fishburne delivers a wonderful nuanced and subtle performance.
Once The Signal starts cooking, it does not let up until the end credits start rolling. Again, without giving up any spoilers, the movie takes hold with an iron fist and then just keeps on getting crazier and crazier. By the third act, I found myself in full on nerd freakout mode. It’s a fun watch from beginning to end. An intricate storyline coupled with great sets and effective performances from its cast proves that there is still reason to be frightened by things that go bump in the night.
Highly recommended if you enjoy your sic-fi with a touch of horror.
The Signal opens today in Philly theaters.