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A Film Diary

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Watched: 14 September

There’s a half-decent sci-fi premise here, in which the symbiosis of man with something that’s biologically very different to the human body is a major theme, though it’s never really explored in a satisfying way, and by the end the story has thrown up far too many unanswered questions for the film to be considered a success. Briefly, three MIT students – two of whom are hackers – are on a road trip while also partaking in a tit-for-tat battle with a rival hacker; this leads them to a remote cabin in the desert, where something very strange takes place, and I won’t elaborate further except to say that the main antagonist thereafter is Laurence Fishburne, looking suitably imposing in a hazmat suit. The Signal feels like a modern take on The Twilight Zone by the end, and it’ll probably float your boat if you were or are a fan of that series, but ultimately it’s a mixed bag: the performances are OK, but the characters are very thinly drawn archetypes and no amount of syrupy flashback scenes can change that (oh are there syrupy flashback scenes in this movie). I’m not a fan of the soundtrack, either, particularly during the film’s finale, but there is at least a less-is-more approach to the special effects, which I assume is due to the budget as much as anything else; when effects are employed some of them are very inventive and convincing. (**½)

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