The Signal (2008)
Directed by David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry
"Do you have the crazy?"
Fuck yeah I do. I'm crazy for The Signal, which is one the best movies of 2008.
Let me start off by saying the jaded viewer is jaded because I've seen a lot of horror and underground movies. So when I tell you I like a movie, it's fuckin rarity rare.
Your movie doesn't have to be an original idea (The Signal is more of a few ideas thrown into one) but when you can pull off a solid piece of storytelling, glue in some splatter and chaos and throw in a few scenes of LOL, it makes for an awesome, most totally good time.
And that's exactly what The Signal does.
I really hate how Hollywood churns out PG-13 turd burger after horror turd. So when 3 directors can team up and shell out a gem like this, it totally gives me a happy.
Told from 3 different perspectives and directed by each director in their own unique style, each has it's own personality and blends in nicely to form a coherent film.
The movie starts off with a WTF moment but then slowly transitions into a visceral apocalypse.
First we start off with David Bruckner's "Transmission I" and we are introduced to Mya (Anessa Ramsey) and Ben (Justin Welborn).
Throughout the whole movie I thought Mya was being played by Christine Elise and not Anessa Ramsey. They look very similar to me. I have no idea why.
I was shocked when it was a different actress. The signal must have infected me. Where's my hammer?
Mya is cheating on her husband with Ben and then that's when all hell breaks loose. The signal, a flurry of colored images and a shrieking sound start broadcasting on every TV, radio and cell phone (though no Internet huh?).
Then everybody goes fuckin nuts.
Mya returning to her apartment has her husband go all Barry Bonds on his friends. Escaping she see's her neighbors go insane and start Voorheesing with knives and garden shears.
It's a great opening 40 or so minutes, chilling, totally manic and the carnage is beyond comprehension. Your sad to see this segment go but the one to follow is like the X-Files series. One episode is monster of the week, the next is light hearted Lone Gunmen fluff.
Dan Bush's "Transmission II" goes all Evil Dead by being funny and goofy. It's odd to go into post apocalyptic humor mode, but it works here. Here we meet a Pleasantville 3 as the interactions between Lewis (AJ Bowen), Anna (Cheri Christian) and Clark (Scott Poythress) are hilarious. There are some horroromedy Three's Company like moments as each of them tries to figure out "who has the crazy" The climax comes in the form of a Mr. Furly like character Jim Parsons (Chad McKnight) who had me LOLing milk out my nose.
Finally "Transmission III", Jacob Gentry's conclusion goes into Cronenberg and Danny Boyle mood as the escape from Terminix is a redux of all zombie finales. Ben searches for Mya with the help of Clark. This trimester has the tone of the first 2 and intersplices both and concludes into an eerie downer of an ending (which I always like).
I really hate happy endings. Horror movies that end with a negative are always good in my book.
As I said before, The Signal isn't original (I first thought of Romero's The Crazies and Cronenberg's Videodrome). But originality can be forgiven if the characters and the carnage never get boring.
The satire of our reliance on technology and our never ending need to be "plugged in" is ever evident. As one character states: "...rational behavior has given way to primordial action..." Do we all turn into savages when we run out of hot water or we can't watch TV? (One time I had no cable and I thought I was going to go insane)
I do have to gripe about this film in that, like Cloverfield nothing is ever explained. We get a theory from one of the characters what the signal is but that could be just mindless ramblings from his insanity. Also, part 1 could have easily carried the movie into part 3 and bypass the sitcom-ish part 2. Finally, explaining why something is happening doesn't diminish the idea if done well. It's called motive and as a viewer, we need motive. Just suspending disbelief sometimes doesn't work.
The Signal is not entirely horror, but is sort of an artsy cinema engulfed in a horror apocalypse. Some of us lived in a time without the Internet (yeah I know I just dated myself). So I know when a film challenges this new Internet generation with a film of brainwashing insanity and brute rawness, it's totally new and a breath of fresh air.
I mean seriously, when you IMDB or Wikipedia a film right after you've seen it, you know you reaaaaaaally liked it right?
The Signal will go into the horror cult of fame and is one of the best horror movies of 2008.
And that's why The Sign-dfshgsdhgklsjfdbgsdfngluithgikhefwoaehrgjenbkjsbfklrjegb
Whoa my screen just went all fuzzy and psychedelic and now I hear a shrieking noise.
You hear that?
Oh fuck me.
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