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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Updated: Jan 11

Dir. William Eubank

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

2014 was a year of the UFO. Not only had the Vicious Brothers EXTRATERRESRIAL taken us out of this world but we'd had a visit from the beautiful Scarlett Johansson parading around artistically stealing earthlings, even the found footage genre hasn’t been missed with EUROPA REPORT. Three strapping examples of how sci-fi should be done in three different styles and just when you think there’s enough drained out of the genre, comes THE SIGNAL.

Starring Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke and Beau Knapp as three teens caught up in the midst of a hacking scandal that sees them set out on a road trip to hunt down the perpetrator known only as “Nomad”. The only issues is that when they arrive, the signal they have been led to appears to be a booby trap and as they investigate further events turn to the unknown.

Unsure of what has happened, Nic (Thwaites) awakens in a secure research facility and probed as to his “contact” with the unknown. Unaware of what has happened, his naivety turns to depravity as he escapes the facility only to learn the truth, something more akin to THE MATRIX than THE X-FILES.

Nic’s one-on-one time with research leader Damon (Laurence Fishburne) is brilliantly played out between the pair and as Nic begins to unravel what is happening the special effects budget comes into play and turns the film from a nerve-shreddingly tense escape thriller to a sci-fi superhero flick that somehow missed it’s summer release date. A closing battle scene between the escapees and their captors is one of the best actions sequences of 2014.

Thwaite and Cooke are quickly carving their name as young talent and with the likes of OCULUS, OUIJA and THE QUIET ONES under their belts, this only adds to an already impressive roster. Skilfully blending close quartered human characters with an impressive visual finesse adds THE SIGNAL as one of the best films of 2014 and while lacking in any sense of horror, it’s uncertainty to provide a concrete answer until the very end (this may be predictable to some hardened veterans of the sci-fi genre but less to more casual cinema goers) adds to some great storytelling and superb all round fun film.

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