The Signal (2014)

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I know what you’re thinking, “But Barley, this isn’t a horror movie! It’s a sci-fi movie!” and yes, you’re right to a point, it is definitely more of a science fiction flick than a horror movie, but it does have elements of both, enough that I was able to justify sharing this review with everyone. Plus, I really enjoyed this movie so, DEAL WITH IT.  That, and the synopsis did sort of sell me on a horror movie in the first place.

On a road trip, Nic and two friends are drawn to an isolated area by a computer genius. When everything suddenly goes dark, Nic regains consciousness – only to find himself in a waking nightmare.

So, first of all, I really enjoyed the actors in this movie. The three friends in the beginning have some depth and have a pretty believable chemistry with each other. Oculus star Brenton Thwaites has shown his chops in this movie, and actually did an exceptional job. We also get pretty great performances from Olivia Cook (Bates Motel), and Beau Knapp (Super 8), and that makes the movie really easy to get through, because you genuinely care about what happens to these characters. Laurence Fishburne is pretty good, though is character is definitely needlessly suspicious from start to finish. On top of all that we get a cameo from one of my favorite people Lin Shaye (Insidious), and these elements really bring the movie up to a very watchable level. That’s before we get into anything else, so this movie is on a pretty good track so far.

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The movie does begin like a horror movie, and makes a pretty sudden switch to science fiction, which really worked for me. I loved the way it was shot, directed, and written. It seems to take it self the exact right level of serious.

The movie also really slick, and shot extremely well. At least, I thought so. There were a few parts that felt a big like the commercial for a pretty cool upcoming video game. The slow-motion train comes on pretty strong near the end, but at the same time, it really worked for me. The effects are also exceptionally well done for a smaller movie like this one. The reveals are really cool, and I won’t spoil those things for anyone.

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Of course, like most movies, there are certainly parts of the movie that didn’t quite work for me. It does move a little bit slowly, and the shift in tone can be a little bit jarring. There are other questions that I would have liked to have answered. We see the function of the ‘alterations’ that were given to Jonah and Nic, whereas we are only given a glimpse of what was done to Haley, and didn’t see what it meant or did to her. This could have been a really cool thing to do, and felt a bit like a missed opportunity.

Other than that though, this movie is actually pretty interesting and fun to watch.

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At the end of the day, it’s a movie worth picking up. It has elements of a horror film, a science fiction film, and even some pretty cool action scenes. I really don’t want to spoil much, because it was (at least for me) a really cool experience going in, having never seen a trailer or much else other than the poster.

If you’re looking for something new to watch, and this sounds like something appealing, then you need to check this movie out.

That’s all I have to say about it.

Final Grade : B+

 

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