Follow this signal
kcvidkid - wrote on 07/02/08
If I may be so presumptuous, let me quote from one of my own reviews, that of "The Happening":
"...the (concept of the) unknown force effecting the entire population is quickly becoming overused."
At the time, I didn't realize that this statement would be proven so quickly! In "The Signal", though, the catalyst is more sinister and overt. While its origins are never explained, there's no time wasted on speculation about them. All we need to know is that there is a transmission causing deadly mass hysteria.
This presumably low-budget thriller is much better than "The Happening" for two main reasons. First, one of the "side effects" of the mass hysteria is hallucinations. Not only do the characters not know what is real or imagined, neither do we. That fact adds an entire level of intelligence to a normally straightforward concept. Second, the movie is divided into three parts, or "transmissions". While the tone of each is different and focuses on different characters, they really fit together to tell the entire story of two people, separated by the crisis and trying to reunite.
Gosh, when I compare "The Signal" to "The Happening", I realize so much clearer their strengths and weaknesses. It makes me want to elevate the first while sending the second to the basement. It shows what a little imagination and creativity can do when it's favored over a little green. And in the long run, I'm willing to bet "The Signal" makes more of it.