Box art for The Signal

The Signal

  • Rated R

independent, special interest

A horror film told in three parts from three perspectives, in which a mysterious transmission which invades every cell phone, radio and TV, turning people into killers.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Bloody, hallucinatory horror movie isn't for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this bloody horror movie is absolutely not for kids. It's packed with gruesome violence, weapons (gun, knife, garden shears, vehicles, poison), and repeated physical assaults by "crazed" TV viewers. Bodies are visible in building hallways and streets, there's a bloody decapitation, killers stagger like zombies, and there's lots of screaming and fleeing. Since the film doesn't have a specific perspective and frequently shifts between hallucinatory images, it can be physically difficult to watch. An early scene shows a naked male bottom and a woman in her underwear. Language includes frequent uses of "f--k" and other profanity.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what the film is saying about violence and consumerism in media. Is it an effective message? Does the extremely violent context make it more or less successful? Can you think of other horror movies that try to make a serious point?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 27
    see all The Signal reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Funny, terrifying and haunting all at once, this tripartite vision of postmodern alienation, societal breakdown and mental disintegration is as arresting as a baseball bat to the head - while still cutting to the heart.

- Anton Bitel, Eye for Film, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: It's definitely an interesting premise and the three filmmakers almost pull it off, but the last ten minutes were a bit of a disappointment to me.

- Austin Kennedy, Sin Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: In the end THE SIGNAL will burn it's transmission into your brain and leave you with an impression that will never go away. This is that film that leaves you with that special glow (yes, kind of like after sex), the smile that doesn't fade and the convers

- Brad Miska, Bloody Disgusting, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

.A very funny slasher / horror film, A Electronic Signal is being transmitted on the phones, TV and Radio which make people kill each other there are only a few sane people left, very comical scenes. This film changes the course of infectious zombie movies. Opens like a 1970 Drive in Movie and turns to pure fun. 4 1/2 stars

- bbcfloridabound, Monday, September 27, 2010

1 star

"Do you have the crazy?" Low budget horror flicks are a pain in the ass nowadays. So many distributors are releasing mediocre films in hope of easy money. The fans of the genre will probably watch any movie that has some terrifying eyes and some blood on the movie poster. 'The Signal' started with an interesting beginning but what happened then? A mysterious signal that shows on the TV, comes out from the radio and phones, fucks up the minds and turns people in to killers. That's the story. But there's gotta be more, right? Ok, there's Ben and Mya who have an affair. It simply ain't interesting. 'The Signal' doesn't know what it wants to be. The movie has three chapters, all directed by three different directors. I don't know who directed which chapter but like in so many other movies that have too many minds controling the outcome, 'The Signal' turns out to be a mess. The first chapter was very interesting. It reminded me of '28 Days Later', slowly developing the interest of the viewer. It's not explained what has happened, so you'd think that at some point, something would be said. You'd think? When the second chapter starts, 'The Signal' suddenly turns in to a black comedy. Why's that? It felt really disappointing and I thought that it would only be a small period of the movie. Then the third chapter started and it continued as the same with small influences of David Lynch's style. One movie, divided in three chapter's with one story, directed by three men. And it seems as if the only one who knows what he's doing was the first chapters director. Another major fault is that there's like zero character development. The lead characters aren't interesting at all, nothing is said of their past, how they got in to their situations in their lifes. Three chapters have three different lead characters. All of 'em are connected with some way but it just doesn't get interesting at all. The cinematography, on the other hand, is very nice. Like I said earlier, the film reminds me of '28 Days (and Weeks) Later', so those who liked the look in there, will surely like the camera work in 'The Signal'. When there's some blood and gore (and it ain't that often..), it's done extremely well. There where some scenes that even looked original, which is nice 'cause the films of the genre look so often the same. I don't know. I feel so disappointed. It started well, continued horribly and ended terribly. Nothing is explained and it just feels as if the writers themself had lost the purpose of the film. The premise of the story was good so in better hands, maybe this could've been something satisfying?

- TheMachinist, Thursday, July 29, 2010

4 stars

Clark: Anna, I need a couple of things that Ken borrowed, namely my hatchet... and some garbage bags. An awesome, original, independent horror film. Divided into three distinct parts, all featuring the same characters within the same narrative, but written and directed by three different directors, the film manages to stay fresh throughout, mixing the tone, providing some fun, and becoming trippy, but nevertheless intriguing. The story is set in the city of Terminus. The new year is approaching, but the world may be in trouble. A mysterious signal is being emitted from every TV, phone, and radio in the area, causing anyone who stares at it long enough to become mesmerized in some way, leading them to perform acts of violence. At the center of this particular story, the lead characters are a wife, her lover, and her husband. Each of these characters are separately the stars of each distinct act, or "transmission," as it is called in the film. The film opens with an admittedly creepy as well as bizarre couple of minutes from another film, before getting into this story, where the first act functions as a drama/horror film. The second act lightens things up at first, working (well) as a very dark comedy, with the characters being very much aware of the genre cliches. The third act settles back into thriller territory, as well as trying to deliver a meaning to the circumstances seen in this film. Lewis Denton: The TV must've gotten into his head and told him to kill you. Anna: Yeah, that's what happened to Ken. He was watching TV and it made him go bad. two people run from a man chasing them with a chainsaw in the background] Clark: This is without a doubt the most fucked up day in the history of mankind. We should go back inside. Anna: cheerful] Who wants cocktails? I had no idea what I was getting into with this film, beyond a basic idea of the premise. I was incredibly happy with how offbeat, yet well made this whole thing was. Each act is distinct, working well for different reasons. The first two in particular have some pretty great things going for it. The first is incredible due to its sound design and the almost claustrophobic hand held style running throughout. The second works due to how well the comedy is balanced, as it is just thrown into this movie, most likely catching you off guard, all while still remaining incredibly bloody. The third is still well made, but bringing in an almost existential reasoning behind the signal is not something easily done within a half an hour. So much of this movie is very well done. If anyone is looking for an original horror film, this is certainly a good place to start. Its well crafted, well acted, plenty bloody, entertaining, and intriguing. Clark: It was self defense. Anna: You chopped his head off! Lewis Denton: He had it coming... probably. These are wild times. Everybody's been driven to desperate measures. I guess this happens to everybody.

- DrZeek, Wednesday, October 7, 2009