Following his highly acclaimed directorial debut LOVE, William Eubank brings another fresh take on the sci-fi world to the big screen with THE SIGNAL. Young computer expert Nic (Brenton Thwaites) finds himself drawn into the machinations of a mysterious super-hacker known as Nomad. Keen to expose this hacker, Nic and his two friends decide to take a detour on their road-trip across rural America to meet Nomad face-to-face. But when their unannounced visit goes horribly wrong, Nic finds himself separated from his friends and isolated in a quarantine research facility.
Instead of simply sticking to genre conventions, Eubank challenges preconceived notions and allows the film to bloom and flourish. The perfectly paced narrative reveals surprising twists which make it an exciting and engrossing watch, and the chilling conspiracy will connect with audiences, but will take us down an intriguing, refreshingly unpredictable path. Beautifully framed visuals make the film feel unique and distinct from mainstream Hollywood.
Eubank brings out brilliantly naturalistic performances from his cast, which are authentic and not bogged down in cliché. Brenton Thwaites (SON OF A GUN) is the disorientated but determined lead caught up in a seemingly nightmarish scenario. Laurence Fishburne evokes memories of his MATRIX character Morpheus as he plays the ominous head researcher keeping Nic against his will, perhaps for his own safety. Instead of being spoon-fed details, the audience can form their own impressions of the characters’ motivations. We gain a greater insight into the minds of our leads when deeper layers are hinted at in dreamlike flashbacks.
It’s hard to fully expand on the many merits of Eubank’s latest feature without drifting into dangerous spoiler territory, but knowing less about the storyline makes the film even more rewarding as it progresses. You may go in with an idea of what’s about to unfold on screen, but you’ll be surprised and absorbed by what you see.
With it’s low-budget aesthetic, solid acting and some wonderfully crafted shots showcasing jaw-dropping special effects, THE SIGNAL‘s success at the Sundance Film Festival is well deserved, and heralds Eubank as an original and exciting new talent in the genre.