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The Signal

2014-11-14 11:20
What's it about:

Three college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour: the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. The trio find themselves drawn to an eerily isolated area. Suddenly, everything goes dark. When one of the students regains consciousness, he is in a waking nightmare.

What we thought:

I’m not a sci-fi fan so I challenged myself by stepping out of my comfort zone to watch The Signal.

I spent most of the time confused about what was actually happening and by the end of the movie and the ‘big reveal’, I wasn’t too surprised.

Although it takes a long time to get there with some mind baffling WTF’s, it’s the build up to the big reveal that does make for interesting and also frustrating viewing.

The film starts our pretty normal; two tech students Nic (Brenton Thwaites) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) are escorting Nic’s girlfriend Haley (Olivia Cooke) on a road trip. Nic and Jonah are computer wizards who have been embroiled in a hacking war with their nemesis NOMAD.

Nic’s on crutches due to an illness and throughout the trek we get flashbacks of him thinking back to his pre-crutch days when he could still run. The scenery is just spectacular.

Back to NOMAD. The pair pinpoint his location and decide to track him down.

Cue night time. Woods. Shady cabin. Shaky hand held camera like shots. And you know things are about to go down. The boys enter the cabin while Hayley is left alone outside in the car.

Not long after, there’s a scream and the boys run out and then suddenly Nic wakes up in a white sterile room. What just happened? At this point we’re as confused as Nic.

He gets wheeled into a room to be questioned by the head honcho Dr. Wallace Damon (Laurence Fishburne) who tells him that he had contact with an EBE (extraterrestrial biological entity), basically an alien. We find out that Jonah is missing and that Hayley is in a coma.

The rest of the movie focuses on Nic trying to get him and Hayley out of holding. And basically besides all the underlying weird things happening this is really the story of Nic and Hayley.

A lot of the plot is made of flashbacks to happier times and their relationship. I enjoyed watching the beautiful colourful rich scenes in juxtaposition to the white, grey, sterile scenes.

It’s these flashback scenes that make you back Nic and  makes you hope that he succeeds in saving himself and the girl. You connect with his hopelessness and desperation.

The star of the show is without a doubt Thwaites. Not only is he beautiful to watch, but his character portrayal grips you.

And while everything plays out and it’s fascinating to watch, by the time the movie reaches it climatic end you’re too exhausted to enjoy the very impressive special effects.

It takes too long to come to the point, the interaction between the characters are too scattered and short lived and you feel cheated that the pay off wasn’t really that big.

It’s a beautiful film to watch, the underlying theories and concepts will keep you guessing and leave you confused. If you’re into sci-fi then go watch it, if not rather skip it.

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