The Signal is an apocalyptic amalgamation of several far better films — Renoir’s The Rules of the Game, Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and especially Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie — each of which already investigates the same major theme of The Signal: the breakdown of our existing social order. Amid city-wide chaos and rampant killing on New Year’s Eve, Mya (Anessa Ramsey) is planning to meet her lover Ben (Justin Welborn) at the bus station — only her homicidal husband, Lewis (A.J. Bowen), has plans to stop them. In yet another turn toward the clichéd, filmmakers David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry blame distorted television, telephone and radio signals for turning people into murderers. As Lewis so succinctly says about the television, “It’s telling me what I should do, what I want.” Indicting consumer culture with the cultivation of social paranoia isn’t nearly as insightful as the film pretends.
Opens February 22