dir: William Eubank
A lot of films have too much money and not enough ideas.
A lot of films have too many ideas, and not enough money.
Some films have no ideas, and no money.
The Signal is some combination of these positions. Call it a super-position if you like.
I am amazed that this flick got made and was released upon an unsuspecting, unwilling and uninterested public. Amazed. It’s so almost accomplished and so horribly amateurish at the same time. Either one of those should have damned it to not-even-illegally-downloading-it hell.
That anyone thought this could be made and shown to people, to humans, and not have them fall into dissolving pools of frustration is a testament to the optimism of humanity. This is, as far as I can tell, William Eubank’s feature debut, and it’s as if he wants people to grunt “Meh, smells like M. Night Shyamalan-type crap to me”.
Let’s hope it’s not the first and only time he gets to make a movie. I’m sure he has a mortgage to pay off, hookers and strippers to help through college, the usual expenses that come with living in this modern world. It’s not an entirely loveable movie, but it’s not terrible. Parts of it are well made, he gets at least a couple of decent performances out of people, and even if it doesn’t entirely work, it works well enough as a calling card. It’s his second feature, but the first one with an even modest budget, so it should lead to him directing Transformers and Ninja Turtles movies in no time.
Three college-age kids are driving some van from presumably Massachusetts to California. One of them (Brenton Thwaites) has crutches, another of them (Beau Knapp) is painfully nerdy even for these nerds, and the third (Olivia Cooke) is a girl.
They are students from MIT who have some particular affinity with the world of hacking in general and a hacker specifically, called Nomad. Nomad has truly l33t skillz, and has gotten them into trouble previously, and seems to be taunting them now. He or she taunts them along their journey, sending them impossible pictures from roadside cameras as they drive across that great, burning, gun-totting land.