June 12, 2008

“It’s a lie. The signal; it’s a trick. Change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. .”

Superior, smartly written and surprisingly ultra-low budgeted horror/comedy/thriller about a signal broadcast over cell phones, radio and television that causes the people who hear or see it to get “the crazy,” that is, to hallucinate and behave in impulsive, violent and sometimes murderous ways. The film is divided into three parts, each written and directed by David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry. The first part is by far the best, which depicts the first night the signal is broadcast, and the resulting chaos. It’s genuinely creepy and frightening, and photographed in gorgeously saturated colors. The second part is more satirical, and while the switch in tone is jarring, it still works up some laughs owing to the cast (including A. J. Bowen, Anessa Ramsey, Justin Welborn, Sahr Nguajah, Scott Poythress and Cheri Christianwhich), which is uniformly good. The last part is more serious, and wraps up the storyline effectively. It’s not a perfect film by any means, but when it works, it works very well. Amazingly, The Signal was done on a $50,000 budget, putting a lot of higher budget Hollywood junk to shame.


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


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