The Signal

the signalThe Signal is a sci-fi thriller in the vein of Dark City along with elements from films like The Maze Runner or Hunger Games. No matter the influence, The Signal is pretty well done and an entertaining movie to check out…

Conceptually, the story revolves around some hackers (Nic and Jonah) who connect with another hacker named Nomad that is supposed to be helping them develop some algorithms they’re trying to put together. The deal between the hackers goes bad and after some threats are made, Nic and Jonah decide to pay Nomad a visit after they track down the source of his computer. Nic’s girlfriend comes along for the ride only for the 3 of them to discover that they’ve fallen into a trap carefully planned by Nomad. Once they fall into the hands of Nomad, they find much more than a simple hacker is behind the plot and that they’re going to be used as test subjects. Unfortunately they uncover these things after it’s already much too late…

The writing is well done although very reminiscent of Dark City but overall stands on its own. The pacing is a little slow at times and creates a more artsy tone to the film which I’m not sure was the best choice here from an excitement standpoint. The artsy moments due tend to work pretty well visually for the most part it’s just that certain points in the film drag out a bit unnecessarily and perhaps a bit gratuitously. My only other complaint with relation to the script is with Larry Fishburne’s dialog which at times is very Morpheus-like both in wording and delivery which I found to be distracting as it made me think of his character from The Matrix quite a bit. They really needed to find a way to differentiate the 2 characters a bit more in my mind. The ending was also very Dark City like as well so while the film is enjoyable to watch, it’s not terribly original and if you’ve seen some of the other films I mentioned (especially Dark City) you’ll probably see the end coming.

Overall the film is well directed with a slick visual aesthetic and some great effects (especially later in the movie). In terms of performances, the actors are all pretty good although there wasn’t really anyone who stood out. Larry Fishburne’s dialog gets a bit Matrix-y at times and given his mannerisms, there’s a little Morpheus in here even though he’s a bit more robotic with regard to delivery. The lineup includes Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp and Jeffery Grover.

I wouldn’t hold any grand expectations in mind with regard to seeing The Signal, but it’s still worth a viewing if you like a decent sci-fi flick.

reviewed by Sean McKnight