Three teenage computer enthusiasts are tracking down a hacker who goes by the name of Nomad, which leads them to a deserted shack in the middle of Nebraska. This is when all hell breaks loose and the team find themselves in some sort of facility manned by people wearing full hazmat suits, in which something odd is happening.
As you can probably tell (and as I only just found out) The Signal is actually a pretty difficult film to explain, in that it never really sticks to one plot line for very long and kind of jumps between ideas and even whole genres every twenty minutes or so. But crucially the tone remains the same throughout, so while on paper you are watching this monstrously disjointed confusing mess it all feels cohesive and is very enjoyable.
It starts off much like those recent teen found footage movies – Chronicle, Project Almanac – only without the found footage element (thank Christ), it then for a brief two minute period decides to half do some actual found footage which it just gets away with. Then all of a sudden it’s like we are in a kind of asylum movie even with flashes of something like One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which is odd for a Sci-Fi. Then it kind of gently morphs into a bit of a horror flick with scary music crazy lighting and evil breathing noises. Then we get a kind of prison escape sequence, then it does a bit of conspiracy cinema, and then it does a bit of action. Seeing one film (and only a 97 minute long one at that) try so many different ideas and themes, makes a really fascinating watch.
I do have a little niggle, and that is that the very very last scene (and we are talking like the last five seconds) are a little too silly are crazy for my liking. It kind of felt like throughout the whole film the filmmakers were actually being pretty restrained until this moment where the over-indulged themselves.
Overall, this is a really interesting enjoyable sci-fi thriller. And I would really recommend it. I was a little down on Brenton Thwaites for his role in Oculus, but he is really rather good here. And Laurence Fishburne as always is absolutely brilliant.