Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Signal' (2007)
Likely couldn't get the rights to 'The Crazies'
Yeah, it was pretty entertaining, being just on the horror side of horror/comedy. It's a lot like Yellowbrickroad in many ways as it's a slow descent into madness. I bring up, Yellowbrickroad a lot and for damn good reason. It's one of the best examples of cerebral horror movies. Check out the review below.YellowbrickroadANYWHO!... back to "The Signal." It just gets wackier and wackier. Yeah, it's really bloody violent, and people are marauding around killing each others, but it's not simple or unhinged like The Crazies, it's almost silly like everyone thinks they're in a fucking cartoon.
So, as you may have guessed from the title and description, a strange signal is what's causing everyone to kill each other. Much like The Crazies, in a way, it kind of reflects a Zombie Apocalypse. The society in the town of Terminus (brilliant name by the way) has reached apocalyptic levels, and basically, anyone 'Infected' by the signal is trying to kill you. It makes a lovely play on that genre. It's really quite an interesting use of the idea, and, in and of itself, quite unique.
I'm tempted to file this one under Lovecraftian horror as well, but I'm not sure it fits, even with the slow descent into madness. There really isn't a supernatural element here, though, there does seem to be an undertone that 'The Signal' is sentient. I mused over the idea that it could be the Old Ones trying to communicate, having the usual effect they tend to have whenever they try to do so. But it could also be aliens or a government experiment, or even some evil mastermind, and there isn't enough to hang a lantern on. And you know what? There shouldn't be. It's more compelling to not know than to know in some cases, and I'd say this is one of them.
The acting is actually pretty solid. I'm not familiar with any of the kids in this movie, but none of them disappointed. It's pretty hard to convey the right level of over the top zany violence, without going too over the top. What I've jokingly referred to lately as "Going Full Cage."
The atmosphere was also pretty interesting. Yeah they do the whole 'society in decline' sirens everywhere, and everything's on fire, but with this nearly side-splitting Brady Bunch feel that could full on scratch the record running in my head.
The plot is simple. It's really just The Crazies except with an identifiable source, and they seemed to have more fun with it.
The plot follows three characters and their multiple timelines along the incidents from when the signal first starts broadcasting. Due to this, it tangents a bit on secondary and even tertiary characters, which is a bit frustrating, and feels like unnecessary padding. However, each tangent stands alone as pretty worth the watch, with its own level of dark comedy. They also tie them together quite nicely in a way that basically makes sense.
Essentially, one guy is out to find and save his ex-girlfriend, seemingly unaffected by the signal. However, she appears to be with another person, which leaves you wondering if he has or hasn't been affected. Her actual boyfriend, then starts trying to kill her, and the three start chasing each other around like a bloody game of Pac-Man. Along the way, good friends of theirs start out trying to help... but then succumb to the signal. They get into this four way cluster fuck, where two kill their significant others, and then start living this weird delusional life together, right before they kill each other.
This seems to suggest the signal is warping each individual's perception on their lovers or spouses. This could explain why the male lead and even female lead seem almost immune? They just broke up, so perhaps it messes with the brain chemistry the signal was trying to distort. Or maybe I'm just over thinking it.
In the end, it's zany, fun, and really greedy violent. Give it a shot.