The science-fiction thriller "The Signal" (which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival) is a fascinating head-scratcher, where the audience’s bewilderment is equal parts clever scripting and random weirdness.
MIT computer nerds Nic (Brenton Thwaites, "Maleficent’s" Prince Charming) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) are driving cross-country, helping Nic’s girlfriend, Hailey (Olivia Cooke, from "Bates Motel"), move to Cal Tech. Somewhere around Nevada, Nic and Jonah get a mysterious text from Nomad, the hacker they believe corrupted their MIT servers.
Opens Friday, June 13, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, violence and language; 93 minutes.
They track Nomad to a remote house, where some "Blair Witch Project"-style strangeness happens. Then Nic wakes up in a quarantined government facility, facing questions from a doctor (Laurence Fishburne) in a hazmat suit.
Director/co-writer William Eubank pulls out plenty of surprises as Nic plots a way to escape and figure out what’s happening to him and his friends. Eubank also produces some beautiful dreamlike images that are sometimes confounding (what’s with the cow?) and gets impressive mileage out of a limited special-effects budget.
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