* If you haven’t seen this, be careful, this post is taking a trip to Spoiler City (in the hopes of generating some discussion *
I am going to go ahead and get this out of the way: the first time I saw THE SIGNAL I was blown away. No lie. LOVED IT! Excellence! Since then I have watched it a dozen or so more times and I guess sometimes you can get too familiar with something and find some nitpicky bullshit but… anyway – this is a really good movie but I am starting to find the third act a little – well – lame. Be sure to click the Hypnotoad if you haven’t already.
Starring A.J. Bowen, Anessa Ramsey (who were both featured in RITES OF SPRING) and a fellow named Justin Wellborn (who you’ll recognize from a number of things), this tells the story of a city called Terminus whose residents unexpectedly find themselves watching and listening to some sort of pulsing, vibrating, glowing signal thwub-wub-wubbing over all of the city’s broadcast frequencies. It’s played out in three segments from three different perspectives, which I thought was wicked cool and clever. The first is “TRANSMISSION 1: CRAZY IN LOVE and it’s directed by David Bruckner.
Obviously, this is the intro where we are introduced to the three main characters and this is told from the perspective of Mya (Ramsey). She seems to be really short and good looking and in the movie she’s married to Bowen (Lewis Denton) but having an affair with Welborn’s “Ben”. She wakes up one night in Ben’s bed and heads home to her loving husband. Little does she know that the signal is broadcasting over everything and everyone is getting all sorts of fucked up. Including her husband who promptly kills his best friend because he thinks he’s fucking his wife. She hot foots it out of there and that scene above is pretty awesome as she’s walking down that hallway listening to the mixed tape Ben made her and everyone is killing everyone else in the background.
TRANSMISSION 2 is called THE JEALOUSY MONSTER and it’s directed by Jacob Gentry and it’s ALL KINDS of AWESOME!! This one mostly takes place in the house of a character called Anna (Cheri Christian) and it’s bloody and funny and features some awesome hallucination scenarios. We also get a bunch of cool flashback scenes and, something that makes me especially proud, when a guy named Clark (Scott Poythress) cuts off this other guy’s head – he starts gagging. This one is told from Bowen’s Denton’s perspective and it totally rocks my lame ass off.
TRANSMISSION 3: ESCAPE FROM TERMINUS is told from Ben’s perspective and leaves us with the ambiguously vague ending as well as the big twist. So – here we’re going to take a trip to Spoiler City. I get my fair share of hits out here but I don’t ever seem to get a lot of comments so hopefully someone will come around and talk about this.
The first time I watched this and when Ben asks Lewis “Do you think you’re really me?” and they show those flashbacks of Ben doing all of the things Lewis did in part 2 – I was like – AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NICE!! and “Wait, I’m confused…”
Then – the second time I watched it, I was all “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. I get it…. he just tricked Lewis because his brain’s all messed up from the signal…. AAAHHH HA!!!”
Now, when I watched this the other day, there are two things that are throwing me off. At the beginning of part 3, Ben busts in and is bashing in Lewis’ head with his exterminator’s canister. While he’s doing this, Clark screams, “LEWIS!!! NO!!!” at Ben. A few minutes later, when Clark and Ben are in the tool shed and Ben asks where Mya is, Clark replies with “I already told you.” referring to when he told Lewis she was going to the airport.
So – what do you think? Is it a straight up “Ben’s lying” or are the film makers twisting it up and turning it all around on us? Either way, THE SIGNAL is all kinds of good with a little let down towards the end. Always a good watch and I wish they’d make a sequel.