We start the film introduced with the main character Nic. For reasons that aren’t really explained in the movie, Nic cannot walk without the help of crutches. Nic is buying coffee for his friends who are in a road trip. Being the decent guy that he is, Nic stops to help a young boy who is struggling with the claw machine. He shows the boy how to win his prize by drawing the solution on the glass and giving the boy more money. This scene is used to get the audience to sympathize with Nic since he is a good person and also to show that he is really smart. To reinforce the fact that he is smart we learn that not only does Nic go to MIT, but he is a hacker as well. We are then introduced to his friend Jonah, who is also a hacker, and his girlfriend Haley who are on a road trip to California to help Haley move to her new school.
Nic and Jonah are being taunted by some mysterious hacker who taunts the pair to go find him. And if obvious trap isn’t obvious, you haven’t been paying attention. The two find the location of the hacker and despite all the warnings that it is a bad idea, they go find this mysterious hacker because the plot says so. They find the location is at an abandoned house and as they search the building, something happens. Nic wakes up in a sterile research facility with no recollection of how he got there. We are introduced to Damon who is in charge of interrogating Nic to try to find out what is going on. We learn that aliens have made contact but nothing else is known. The rest of the movie involves Nic trying to reunite with his friend and girlfriend and trying to escape.
This movie is a weird one. It tries incredibly hard to be deep by constantly going back to simple motifs that only really serve to flesh out Nic as a character. For example, he constantly has to write out his problems in order to find logical solutions. It doesn’t take long to figure out twist so the rest of the movie you are just waiting for the big reveal. At least I wasn’t surprised by what happened. The movie, if anything, is really pretty. The scenes all set up so nicely. The sterile facility, the desert, every scene was just so well shot that it is worth watching just to see the different sets.
This film definitely isn’t for everyone, so if you are an average movie goer that likes big name block busters, search elsewhere. Nor is it different or unique enough where I can recommend it to people who like weird films, although I can see this having a small cult following. If you have absolutely nothing else to watch or are in the mood for some weird suspenseful sci-fi, give Signal a chance. I’ll give it a 6 out 10 because although I liked it, it is not for everyone and it’s one of those movies you can only watch so many times.