The Signal (2014)

The Signal (2014) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: The Signal
Year: 2014
Country: USA
Director: William Eubank
Main cast: Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp
Runtime: 97 minutes
Production company: Automatik Entertainment, Low Spark Films, Signal Film Group

I watched The Signal as I normally watch a new released sci-fi movie: with genuine expectation and open mind, trying not to be too demanding (since it’s one of my favourite genres), and trying to enjoy whatever it has to give. Sci-fi movies normally contain surprises, since they can play with fantasy and imagination as much as they want, without the constraints of reality. So, even if it’s in a small measure, when I watch a new sci-fi movie I expect it to take me out of my comfortable chair and make me dream, show me something from a different perspective, or intrigue me for things far away of mundane stuff.

I won’t say that The Signal, directed by William Eubank (and the second feature movie he directs), doesn’t have those kind of surprising elements. But I can’t understand why he doesn’t take more proffit of it. Even when he says he had in mind directors as Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch, and films as Pi, Moon or Cube, the lack of a narrative coherence alienates his work from the references. The film wobbles between a teenager drama and a complex mystery thriller, starting too slowly in the contemplation of the three young characters, and sadly staying at the surface of them all instead of going deeper. The scenes have the look of a music video, with the sun, the young faces and the young love. Maybe we could save it saying that the begining is used to contrast strongly with what there is to come. But then (without going into much detail for avoiding spoilers) the story takes a different course, and the narration becomes ragged, too quick, without coherence. I don’t think the director can save this by appealing he got inspired by Lynch; the way in which he explains the story is just not consistent enough. Too many things are missing an explanation, so me as a spectator, I’m looking for answers that won’t come.

He certainly keeps cards until the end. Some final surprises can cheer up a lame middle, but still I question if it can leave a taste sweet enough. He has a very expensive climax of visual effects; but where did all the magic of cinema go? I’m raring to know…

RATE: 4,5/10


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