Directed by David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush.
Written by David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush.
Starring Anessa Ramsey, Justin Welborn, A.J. Bowen and Scott
Release Year: ?
Review Date: 1/31/07
Another film in the "Park City at Midnight"
series at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, "The Signal" kept the
theme of bloody horror/action/comedy movies intact by spilling more
blood than any other film I saw at the festival. Fantastically
B-movie-ish, the film never looks to aim that high as it presents
its gory sci-fi apocalyptic setting...this doesn't make it very
good, but certainly, it's a rush.
Presented in three segments (hence the three
Atlanta-based directors you see above), "The Signal" is set in the
near-future in the made-up city of Terminus, where a young woman
named Mya (Anessa Ramsey) is cheating on her husband Lewis (A.J.
Bowen, who looks damn near exactly like Ryan Reynolds) with a man
named Ben (Justin Welborn). One night, after finishing up a
sex session with Ben, Mya decides to go home; just before she leaves
Ben's apartment, she tries to call Lewis to tell him she's on her
way home but can't seem to get reception on either a cell phone or a
landline...and, Ben's TV is mysteriously showing just static even
though there's not a storm in the sky...but, oh well. Upon
getting back to her apartment building, Mya finds that lots of
people seem to be in a daze, but it's a daze that has everyone
walking around with a crazed look in their eyes, like they are about
to, I don't know, KILL somebody...and, after she gets home to find
that Lewis is about to kill one of his best friends over a very
minor argument, she gets scared and decides to run...
...out into her apartment building hallway,
where EVERYONE is starting to kill everyone else. Uh oh...I
wonder if that static had anything to do with it...
And, so on. Basically, people start
turning into bloodthirsty zombies, much bloodshed ensues, and
survivors try to escape this little shop of horrors before it is too
late. "The Signal" is so gratuitously violent and brutal that
at least 20 people walked out of my theater within the first 30
minutes, which is weird because we're talking about Sundance, where
people shelled out big $$$ to see these movies and are used to
stomaching the worst a filmmaker can throw at you. Using a
no-name cast and buckets of blood, "The Signal" rides its low budget
all the way to the finish line. That finish, though--and, the
fact that for some reason, the filmmakers decided to never explain
who or what caused these signals to be sent out in the first place,
which would have been just a little helpful--didn't satisfy me and
ultimately makes "The Signal" even more meaningless when you leave
Still, while I was sitting there, "The
Signal" is not a bad ride.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard