Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.26%
Just Average: 26.09%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 2.17%

7 reviews, 4 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Monster Hunt 2 by Jay Seaver

Monkey King 3, The by Jay Seaver

Andover by Jay Seaver

Gateway, The by Jay Seaver

Flora by Jay Seaver

Black Panther by Peter Sobczynski

Fifty Shades Freed by Peter Sobczynski

Vanished Murderer, The by Jay Seaver

Basmati Blues by Peter Sobczynski

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Signal, The
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Long Live The New Flesh...If You Havenít Been Stabbed Already"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Itís a nice change of pace to see a gimmick horror film without the need to pronounce its gimmick as the idea above all others. While youíre watching it you will be traveling down the road to understanding what that gimmick is, but since the film flows quite well from one act into another itís the road that becomes the focus and not the slight of hand. Six hands actually, for the gimmick is behind the camera courtesy of David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry. Just as Pulp Fiction was three stories about one story, each director moves the horrific tale forward from all-out bedlam to dark comedy and ultimately to social commentary. Everyone is liable to have their favorite segment and each have their own merit. But before the story overshoots its boundaries, itís a pretty gory good time.

In the city of Terminus on the eve of the new year, all communication appears to be down. Cell phones emit a screeching static and televisions are broadcasting a freakishly active test pattern. As Mya (Anessa Ramsey) is leaving the apartment of her adulterer lover, Ben (Justin Welborn), a man with a puncture wound cries out for her help. Fearing for her own health, she flees the scene and comes home to her suspicious husband, Lewis (A.J. Bowen). His buddies are over to watch the game, but they canít pick up anything except the colorfully loud static. Lewis begins to give Mya the third degree over her whereabouts and soon enough, without warning, he takes a baseball bat to the skull of his friend.

Mya starts seeing similar behavior in her neighbors and runs for the nearest cover. Seeming like the perfect time to take Ben up on his offer to leave the city together, Mya heads out and hopes for a rendezvous. Other survivors then begin to take center stage. Thereís Clark (Scott Poythress), a nice guy going with the flow of the morning. Anna (Cheri Christian) was expecting a number of party guests, but is now in shock after having to kill her husband. Lewisí buddy Rod (Sahr Ngaujah) survived his wrath and for defense has fashioned maybe the greatest homemade weapon since Bruce Campbell attached a chainsaw to his wrist. Also searching the landscape is Lewis himself along with Ben, both searching for the woman they claim to love.

While Mya is a central figure of contention for the filmís drive, she remains mostly in spirit through a large middle chunk. One of The Signalís greatest strengths and equal weaknesses is in keeping the audience off-kilter in getting attached to its characters. Just as certain ones appear to be major players, they become absentee in other segments Ė sometimes due to a surprisingly quick death. Bruckner kicks things off on a high note, much like Zack Snyderís Dawn of the Dead remake. Visceral, energetic and shocking, itís like a modern technological counterpart to the tongue-in-cheek grain of the 70s-era prologue.

Things begin to settle down in Bushís second chapter as the action moves interior as characters try to figure things out. Itís quite an interesting section to as weíre left to seriously reevaluate one characterís motivations. Does he have ďthe crazyĒ or are his intentions truly of the survival sort; paranoid of everyone and everything around him including himself? The bizarro comedy works here on its own as a breather from the carnage weíve seen and whatís on the horizon. Be warned that The Signal hits the flesh pretty hard at times and despite going to the skull smashing in part two a few too many times, it still gives Gaspar Noťís Irreversible a run for that gruesome title.

Gentryís wrap-up contains its share of moments but makes an overreach for the cerebellum that both robs The Signal of a slam-bang ending and gives an unnecessary phrasing to a message that works better when audiences make the connection themselves. Whether conservative or liberal, each side believes the other is out to poison the psyches of America and turn us all into mindless drones who attack first and think it through later. Thinkers or not, horror fans will find a lot to appreciate about The Signal. A flashback structure that sometimes gives us triple the point-of-view of the same scene gets a bit too extended for its own good. It also may not be the first technology-run-amok with films like Videodrome, Pulse (the Japanese original), the Kevin Dillon non-classic Remote Control and obvious similarities to Stephen Kingís The Cell, but it certainly plants the seed that youíre looking forward to whatís next from these filmmakers.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15638&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/08/07 12:07:23
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 San Francisco Film Festival For more in the 2007 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2007 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell IT SUCKS 1 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Shocking,artistic,disturbing horror/sci-fi.Like Night of the Living Dead on acid. Must see! 5 stars
10/21/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
6/12/08 ES Was good, a bit over the top and confusing at moments 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  22-Feb-2008 (R)
  DVD: 10-Jun-2008



[trailer] Trailer

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast