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The Signal - Review

The Signal

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

PART horror, part sci-fi but totally engrossing, William Eubank’s The Signal is a small scale production that thrives on some very big ideas.

Nic (Brenton Thwaites) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) are two young computer experts helping the former’s girlfriend, Haley (Olivia Cooke) to relocate when they realise a simple detour could put them face to face with a mischievous computer hacker that has been targeting them.

But upon arriving at his remote address, the trio suffer a strange experience that renders them unconscious. When they re-awaken, men in Hasnat suits (led by Laurence Fishburne’s Damon) are waiting to interrogate them about the nature of their experience and how it may have changed them.

Eubank’s film works better the less you know about it, forcing you to scramble for clues in much the same way as its main characters.

In doing so, it cleverly tips its hat to tried and trusted genre conventions before neatly subverting them at several points. The opening, for instance, plays like a traditional horror film where a group of hapless teens are lured or get lost somewhere remote. But while Eubank gleefully leads you halfway down that path, he then delights in pulling the rug out from under you.

Similarly, the second half of the film toys with notions of genetic engineering, alien abduction, government conspiracy and even super-heroism, while never losing sight of the human emotions at play (fear, anger, suspicion, even love and sacrifice).

He also builds the tension nicely towards a more adrenaline-fuelled climax that, again, succeeds in leaving you with plenty to think about and be impressed by.

Credit, too, must go to the cast who acquit themselves well with the material, and help to ensure that this is a set of characters worth caring about and rooting for.

The Signal is a smart, exciting movie and well worth making the time to see.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 97mins
UK Release Date: March 27, 2015