June 27, 2008

The Signal (2007)

When I first heard that The Signal was made by three directors, with the film split into three sections, or transmissions, I will admit that I felt a little unsure as to whether I really wanted to see it or not. Sure, the trailer looked fun, but three directors? Surely that will get a little messy? Well, it does get messy, but not in the way I thought it would, no it gets messy purely due to the fact that everyone spends the majority of the movie covered in blood. Su-bloody-perb if I do say so myself.

The Signal is about a strange occurence that infects televisions, telephone and radios, amongst other things, transmitting an unknown message to the viewer/listener that basically sends them off on a looney tune trip, roughly translated; they kill everyone they see. Although it isn't as straight forward as that; it plays with their minds causing them to believe people are someone else, making them believe that what they are doing is the right thing. Those affected are convinced they are normal, and it is everyone else that is infected with "the crazy", as it is often referred to.

The film itself focuses on a married woman, her husband, her boyfriend and a few neighbours and friends in the city of Terminus, and although it is split into three segments the characters and main thread of the story continue throughout. Now, although the storyline does continue through all three sections, the tone in each part is quite distinctly different to the other, yet they all work perfectly well together. So, you have moments of stark and quite horrific violence, tension and gore mixed in which some quite delightfully offbeat humour, all of which is delivered perfectly by the quite excellent cast.

Experimental at its core, The Signal never comes across as anything other than a totally accessible film; it won't baffle you, although it doesn't give you all the answers on a plate. It is very well made and belies its limited budget, aside from one or two suspect moments involving the bane of my movie-viewing life; and that is poor CGI. As I say though that is only once or twice during the movie, and didn't really spoil my enjoyment of it.

There are plenty of similarities between The Signal and other movies, and books, such as 28 Days Later, Hater and Kairo, yet it never seems to lose its own identity. To me this was due in part to the terrific script, it completely took me by surprise in places as there are some real gems in the dialogue. Aside from that it was purely speaking a terrific and well made movie.

Gory, funny, bleak and shocking, The Signal definitely impressed me, and I can only recommend it to those that like something that is just a little unusual yet strangely familiar.

Rating 3 stars (out of 4)

Review by Jude Felton

1 comment:

JD said...

This film has its moments. No doubt about it. I liked it. Great review.