In THE SIGNAL, three MIT students–Nick, Jonah, and Haley–are on a road trip to move Haley to California. Nick has a degenerative condition that forces him to use crutches, and that plus Haley going to California for a year to attend Cal-tech is stressing their relationship. Jonah is obsessed with finding Nomad, a hacker who has been messing with them. They pinpoint Nomad’s location, and it turns out it’s on the way during their road trip. At this remote farmhouse, the three of them find something else, or rather it finds them. They wake up in a bizarre government facility that tells them they were abducted and must be studied. The weirdness escalates as they seek to escape and discover the truth of their abduction.
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. Overall, it’s kind of like a big TWILIGHT ZONE episode, with an interesting mystery around what’s going on. For me, the main thing was the characters, who have great chemistry as we see them on their road trip in the setup. When the s hits the f, I cared about what happens to them and kept watching not because of the mystery but because of them. By paying heed to good film basics related to character, acting, dialogue, and pacing, this very simple low-budget indie sci-fi flick is elevated to a solid watch. Laurence Fishburne is great as the government scientist, a sort of antagonistic Morpheus. My only complaint is Haley goes from being interesting in the beginning to a blob for the rest of it, a weight for Nick to carry instead of growing as an engaging character.
Overall, again, THE SIGNAL is a solid watch.