Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sundance Review: The Signal - 1 star

This is one of those movies that might have worked as a short, but not as a feature length movie.  It's about three college students.  The movie doesn't give them much of a backstory.  I'm not sure what they're studying or where they go to school (they might have mentioned it and I missed it), but they are on some kind of road trip.  It seems the server at their school was hacked, and they were blamed for it.  Now they're going to track down the hacker who was responsible. 

Once they get into the desert, something happens and they pass out, or something like that.  They wake up in some kind of a government research facility.  Were they abducted by aliens, and now the government is trying to figure out what happened to them?  Or are they on the ship now and the doctors are aliens? 

Lots of interesting ideas in this movie, but the script is just a mess.  The first act bored me because the movie hadn't given me any reason to care about these characters.  Once they incident in the desert happens, I was intrigued for about 10 minutes.  Then the movie has nowhere to go.  Eventually they escape and things get even stranger.

There's nothing wrong with a movie disorienting us and making us put the pieces together ourselves.  But this movie is nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is.  It really needed a couple of rewrites by someone who understands how to do this kind of science fiction without boring the audience. 

The only thing the movie has going for it is Laurence Fishburne.  But the filmmakers seem to think that giving him lots of exposition will remind us of The Matrix.  His voice is hypnotic and I was reminded of Morpheus, but the more I listened to him I realized that the screenwriters were reaching beyond their grasp.

I hated this movie.

No comments: