Nic, Hailey, and Jonah are three MIT students on a road trip of the Southwest United States. On their journey, Nic and Jonah grow increasingly agitated by a genius computer hacker, who has already hacked into MIT, responsible for nearly getting Nic and Jonah blamed for the incident. When the same mysterious hacker breaks into Hailey's personal laptop, Nic and Jonah decide to track him down, leading them to an isolated area in the middle of nowhere. Things go dark, with Nic awakening in an underground government facility where he has no recollection of what happened or how he arrived there. William Eubank's The Signal is a skillfully photographed, ambitious science fiction film that doesn't quite achieve everything it sets out too. Draped in mystery and enigma, The Signal isn't interested in spoon-feeding its premise and ideas to the viewer, making it a refreshing, yet sometimes flawed endeavor. The biggest problem with The Signal is its inability to sustain its promising premise, relying on a mediocre script and enigmatic middle that seems more interested in being abstract than actually providing answers. While The Signal can't quite live up to all its intentions, William Eubank is certainly a filmmaker to watch, showing a great understanding of shot composition, scene structure, and editing that helps elevate the film's tension and sense of unease that envelopes the film from start to finish. Eubank's direction is stylish and well-designed, making The Signal a promising first effort even if the screenplay can't live up to the direction. Even with a ho-hum screenplay that at times feels intentionally convoluted, The Signal is a film I cannot help but appreciate, given its unique spin on the alien-abduction sub-genre.
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