Directed by William Eubank
In the convoluted sci-fi horror thriller The Signal, we are offered a cinematic smorgasbord of Dark City meets “The Bionic Man” as cooked up by UFO conspiracy crackpot Whitley Strieber.
Glossy and ominous visuals barely conceal a story that’s bursting at the seams with nonsense, but here’s the basic gist: Three road-tripping, tech-savvy college students find themselves caught up in a dangerous hacker’s devious game, and they decide to tail him to see where the clues lead.
MS-stricken Nic (Thwaites, lately of Oculus) is our hero, and he’s flanked by his BFF, Jonah (Knapp), and his faithful girlfriend, Haley (Cooke of “Bates Motel” and recent Hammer offering The Quiet Ones). In the course of their goose chase, the trio find themselves drawn to an isolated area in the desert, complete with an abandoned, lone shack. They investigate. And then… everything goes dark.
Nic wakes to find himself in a super-secret laboratory facility run by a mysterious and possibly nefarious government agent, Dr. Wallace Damon (Fishburne). The white-washed pristine place is populated by Bedlam-style visitors straight out of “Twin Peaks” (a la Lin Shaye as the coo-coo Cardigan Lady) and houses more unsolved mysteries than Robert Stack could shake a stick at.
Nic manages to escape, only to find the world outside is far more dangerous than it was when he left it. Much of the movie baffles, but in the end it’s tied up rather predictably.
It’s not a complete waste of time, and there are a few cool elements, but… I say wait for the VOD or DVD on this one.
2 1/2 out of 5