The Signal is another of my pleasant Netflix surprises, and the only word for it is tripadelic. I knew nothing about it before I watched it, and expected the worst. Believe me, I've waded through a bunch of either middle of the road or just downright awful and disappointing horror movies, but I've found a few in the process that are genius. This is one of them, a sublime little independent movie shot by three directors in Atlanta. At the start of the movie, Mya is cheating on her husband Lewis with a fellow named Ben. As she is returning home to her husband, a spooky transmission or signal is broadcast on all televisions, radios, phones and other electronic devices that causes everyone who lives in the city of Terminus who comes in contact with it to go murderously insane. The world basically goes wacko. As the viewer, there are moments that it feels that you have gone a bit wacko as well.
Again, this scenario could come off a bit hokey. However, for me at least, it really works. The movie is broken down into three different transmissions, directed by three different people, and from three different points of view. This sort of construction can be tricky and gimmicky, but it's quite effective in the hands of these three directors. Each section focuses on a different character, so the three directorial styles work perfectly. It's brutal, funny and paranoia-enducing. Grim and silly. Hallucinogenic and emotional.
Think about it. Are you ever completely cut off from some sort of telecommunication or media? Phones, televisions, radios? My only hope is that I might be a bit safe from The Signal because of my DVD and CD addiction. If this movie makes any social or political statement, it might be about the all-obtrusive nature of technology in our lives. I believe, at this point in our civilization, if you took away everyone's cell phone, the society would collapse. Maybe that's because I'm not all that addicted to my cell phone, so I have some distance from it. If you took away my ability to watch DVDs? I would flip out. How much of an effect do all of these noisy and constant intrusions that have become necessities--phones, television, musical devices of all kinds, computers, etc.--have on your life? And are these effects more good than bad?
Hmmm. . . one thing. If you're at all squeamish, the movie is not for you. There are a few nasty moments that cause me to turn away. However, if you like your horror smart and bloody, this one is gold.