Saturday, 26 July 2014

REVIEW - THE SIGNAL (WILLIAM EUBANK)


One could look so frequently to science-fiction movies to observe examples of 'style over substance' that it has somewhat become a staple feature of that genre, a touchstone upon which directors can validate their own shallow exercises in sci-fi filmmaking. William Eubank's The Signal is a puzzle of a plot that slowly forms into a rather dissatisfying picture, and then falls apart entirely with a naff twist ending that's so self-consciously meta it's even scored to dubstep. As stupidity goes, it's a cut above the rest of this film, which presents silliness as momentousness, but generally has the viewer on side, as we await the eventual explanation that will confirm the purpose of what Eubank has designed. His explanation fittingly denounces all that has been before as futile, though is itself a throbbing beacon of futility. Though lacking in any tangible substance, yes, The Signal is a stylish sci-fi film, as conventional entries into the genre ought to be. On a small budget, Eubank administers some effective CGI, and the film has a slick aesthetic. None of it is particularly revolutionary, despite Eubank's insistent portentousness, and confirms the derivativeness of so much of The Signal, right down to its basic visual conception. It marks a distinct disappointment that, even in this most vital regard on which the film supposedly thrives, The Signal is lacking in original thought or surprise. A feeling of disenfranchised fatigue settles in, and the mind-fuck final shot doesn't jolt one out of it, it actually reinforces that feeling.