The Signal [2014] Movie Laurence Fishburne as Damon final scene

The Signal [2014]

While we are on the subject, let’s check out another science fiction movie that came out this year starring Brenton Thwaites (The Giver). Working on a limited budget Will Eubank did wonders with special effects and the whole vibe of the movie. Although the movie starts as standard hipsterama, if you just hold on ’till the first serious conversation that really nailed me to the bed (not the weed I was smoking, no sir) you will check it out. For the full viewing experience, you will need to put in a bit of effort, mostly analyzing where are we going with our technological advancement. It is quite refreshing to see an indie science fiction movie done right and that’s something I want to support.

Another Earth made just on a $100.000 budget (compared to $4 million) shares this similar position. And while we’re going down the rabbit hole, I also have to mention Primer from 2004, made with just $7000, something that just boggles the mind. The filmmakers have stated that they were exploring how we make decisions in the movie, whether we rely on our rational thinking or emotions. As someone who not only prefers but almost completely relies on rationality, I enjoyed in this aspect of the movie. Careful observations, planning, thinking through different scenarios and all the other fun stuff usually classified as overthinking.

Three friends on a road trip decide to check out the house of the hacker that’s been harassing them for some time. Nic and Jonah are pretty skilled when it comes to tracking someone online, mostly because they’re MIT students, so they find the house fairly easily. Haley is a bit more cautious and worried about her boyfriend Nic, but the thing that’s going to happen when they arrive at the house is beyond their wildest dreams.

The problem with The Signal is the clarity of that signal. It just feels that besides the elements that were actually used in the movie, the rest of it is just cardboard cutouts there to create an appearance of a fully functional movie. And this is not a slam against the visuals that were great, but a slam against the script that feels incomplete and with so much potential.

They could have developed this into a full blown cult movie, but unfortunately it remains in the sea of watchable science fiction movies that came out this year. The incorporation of different themes (imprisonment, experiments, technology, government…) did not go as smoothly as the director expected. It muddied the clarity of the story, especially when you throw in the characters and their stories.

In the end, another SPOILER ALERT: Dear lord is it possible, is it possible that you spend days and days imprisoned, in a wheelchair, but still conscious and never notice that your fucking legs were replaced with bionic machines?! 

Director: William Eubank

Writer:  Carlyle Eubank, William Eubank, David Frigerio

Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, Jeffrey Grover

Fun Facts: The filmmakers have stated that they wrote the film as primarily an exploration of the conflict between logic and emotion.


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