Do you have the crazy?
I didn’t know jack-squat about THE SIGNAL before plugging myself into its wall jack. All I knew is that its synopsis gave me Nam flashbacks of Stephen King’s last novel
CELL and Boyle’s 28 DAYS LATER. Now although I did get shades of the two aforementioned oeuvres as I was being brainwashed by this flick; much like a dame with a tongue piercing and an IQ of 2, it offered so much more than what I perceived at first glance.
What could’ve easily been played in a linear manner pulled a Pulp Fiction on my ass and told its story from three different interrelated perspectives. And although all three blocks were different in tone and vibe; they still complemented each other and managed to tell its story as a whole. The film’s first act was my darling of the lot. Our engaging main characters and a rocky love triangle were introduced and then the signal buzzed loud and sent everybody to hell; including me! I immediately fell in love with our protagonist Mya (Anessa Ramsey) who acted as my tour guide to the madness charged sights while having her own riveting shit going on. High on suspense, visual panache, unflinching brutality (all about that dude with the sheers) with a sly use of music to boot (Maya played Leave by Heavens on her CD Man to shut out the world… very cool), David Bruckner’s segment was a moody, visceral, shocking and utterly gripping ordeal that I didn’t want to let go of. So I was set up real good and was ready for a straight forward pummeling.
But then Dan Bush’s take on the ordeal went down and totally backhanded me in its drastic change of tone. What started off as a lean and mean horror machine; became a gory, yuk-yuk heavy, Edgar Wright type of take on the happenings. To be totally frank (or Earnest Goes to Camp); it took me about 15 minutes to adjust to the new approach and to let go of what I was hoping this film was going to be. Once I came to terms with it and embraced the new direction; I had a riot act and a half with it! The kooky characters owned me in their totally out there behavior (Lewis Denton is my idol!) while the further exploration of “how” this signal was affecting these folks often resulted in all kinds of trippy going ons and zany humor. And did I mention the gory goods in this Zoo? No? Well I just did then! DAMN! What a mess… in a good way! The last time, I saw a metal canister put to such good use on a human head was in Irreversible. SWEET!
WE INTERRUPT THIS REVIEW FOR A SLICE OF ARROW LIFE: I live in downtown Montreal and right now as I write this crap; they’ve closed the street outside my pad and they are having a street sale. Problem is some Shakira garbage is booming from outside and polluting my space inside. I am f*cking losing it. “And I'm on tonight, you know my hips don't lie and I'm starting to feel its right." SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT THE F*CK UP! This duh trash is acting as a “signal” on me RIGHT NOW! I’m getting the crazy in my head! Hips don’t lie? HIPS DON’T LIE???? WTF you yapping about! DO MY DISHES! ARRRRRRG!
Okay let’s finish this review.
Wacky Act 2 eventually segued to Justin Welborn’s block which pretty much hit the middle in terms of the darkness of Act 1 and the comedy of Act 2. With enough twists and ballsy moves as to bringing this warped story to a close; Act 3 wrapped it all up with oomph and made for a nifty finish. As the end credits rolled; my main peeves were: Act 2 lagged a bit and I still would have loved to have seen Act 1 taken all the way to be a feature on its own. Overall though, THE SIGNAL made for a stylish, compelling, unique within its clichés, socially relevant (that man vs. his dependency on technology theme again) and satisfying sit down.
I say, catch this signal, let it invade your brain and then seek out Shakira to spank her silly and stupid for creating that drivel she calls music. Your hips don’t lie eh? Well, neither do my balls honey. TEA BAGGGGGGG!