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Signal, The


Stars: Brenton Thwaites, Laurence Fishburne, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, Lin Shaye, Robert Longstreet, Jeffrey Grover, Sarah Clarke

Director: William Eubank

Brendan Thwaites’s basic nice-guy character is established right from the start of this ambitious-for-its-budget science-fiction thriller when he pays for a kid to continue playing an electronic game.

MIT students Thwaites and Beau Knapp, who get involved in a close encounter of what turns out to be of the unfortunate kind with a scary hacker, are driving Cooke across the desert to college when they reckon they have a lead to the hacker’s location.

The trio end up passing out in a strange shack and worse is to come when Thwaites recovers consciousness and finds himself being relentlessly interrogated by suave Laurence Fishburne who clearly enjoys himself playing the most rounded character in the film.

The other performances are adequately enough up to the demands of the semi-cipher roles.

Most cinemagoers will to figure out what is going rather sooner than the on-screen protagonists – the luckless travellers have landed up s in the midst of a top-secret extraterrestrial event involving an EEB ("extraterrestrial biological entity").

Director (and co-scenarist with Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio) David Eubank deserves praise for turning an often predictable, rather undernourished story into a holding and sufficiently stylish low budget genre film with enough suspense and occasional offbeat event to keep genre lovers reasonably satisfied if less than ecstatic.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: EntertainmentOne. Colour.
97 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 11 Apr 2015