Combustible Celluloid
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With: Anessa Ramsey, Sahr, A.J. Bowen, Matt Stanton, Suehyla El-Attar, Justin Welborn, Cheri Christian, Scott Poythress, Justin Welborn, Christopher Thomas, Lindsey Garrett, Chadrian Morris
Written by: David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry
Directed by: David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and brief nudity
Running Time: 99
Date: 01/22/2007

The Signal (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Static Sting

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A trio of filmmakers, David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry, team up for this three-part apocalyptic horror movie. To their credit, they tread close to zombie movie conventions but manage to come up with something fresh; their idea actually relates more to the current climate than any of the recent zombie remakes and copies. The story takes place in the fictitious city of Terminus on New Year's Eve. The first section deals with Mya (Anessa Ramsey), an attractive blond who is currently cheating on her husband. She leaves her comfy love nest for the more dubious promise of home and her nasty husband, Lewis (A.J. Bowen), only to find that the city's general tension has drastically increased. People are attacking others for no reason. At home, her husband's buddy playfully swings a baseball bat too close to Mya and her husband beats him to death. It soon becomes clear that a static-filled signal on television, radio and cell phones is driving people to violence. Mya escapes with the help of her husband's other friend, Rod (Sahr), although she's not too sure of him either. She announces that she's going to meet her lover at a bus terminal and leave town with him. The second section has a welcome comical tone, set at a would-be New Year's party, in which an uptight housewife (the wonderful Cheri Christian) has killed her suddenly violent husband and wonders if she should continue hosting the party. But the third section loses the momentum, diving face-first into seriousness and attempting to wrap up all the dangling plot threads. The homicidal Lewis turns up here for the third time, like a third-rate Jason Voorhees, despite being bashed, smashed, bludgeoned and otherwise trounced. That's a sad, and frankly, lazy way to end such a promising film. Otherwise, The Signal has an agreeably grubby look in all three segments, and the acting is excellent throughout.

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