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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Infected characters are enraged and brutal; victims are mostly unable to fight back; no heroes.
Violence & Scariness
Lots (cast list includes many "random bodies"). Image on a TV shows exploitation/slasher movie (women tied and tortured by man with hatchet, blood everywhere). First sign of trouble is a bloody man in the street, moaning in pain. Characters afflicted with a virus-like "signal" kill and assault others continually, using a car, a bat, garden shears, a knife, a gun, a shovel, bug spray, a hatchet, a chainsaw, a golf club, and a hammer. Woman slips on pooled blood in a hallway, bloody man is duct-taped to chair, bloody bodies appear strewn in the street, a man appears on fire, a man is decapitated (bloody head rolls on the floor).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Early scenes show lovers in bed, post-sex; he stands, and you see his naked bottom; she gets up to dress, appearing in bra and panties. Brief kiss near film's end. Occasional disturbing sexual language (e.g., "I'm just gonna grab a slut and pee in her butt," "She can feel my corn," "p---y," "boobs," "boner," "I made out with the dog for New Year's").
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Many uses of "f--k," plus other profanity, including "s--t," "hell," "bitch," and "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking at a New Year's gathering. Occasional cigarette smoking.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Full of bloody bodies and brutal violence, The Signal might be mistaken for a run-of-the-mill humans-go-brutally-crazy horror movie. But it has something else on its mind: Namely, a somewhat abstract, sometimes darkly funny consideration of the effects of mass media on careless consumers. While the premise isn't exactly news, this take gets points for its wildly shifting perspectives. Almost any moment that appears to make sense, or even grant a coherent point of view, soon turns nightmarish, as if the channels are switching randomly. But of course, there's no randomness here, only very bloody calculation. Mya may or may not be protected by the fact that she's wearing headphones to listen to Ben's mix CD. Ben may or may not escape from Lewis. Lewis may or may not come to understand himself as the ultimate consumer, so determined to possess his wife that he can't live without her -- or with himself.
The movie takes occasional moments to let characters ponder their impossible new world, as when Mya's neighbor (Sahr Ngaujah) wonders whether he's monstrous when he kills monsters -- i.e. whether self-defense makes him "crazy." Or when Clark (Scott Poythress), sympathetic and rational, asserts his completely sensible paranoia ("Everyone's a suspect now"). Alas, just when Ben thinks he's figured out the signal, he's fooled again. "It's a lie, it's a trick," he says. "We change the way we look at things, the things we look at will change." It's as good a summary of what you've been looking at as you're likely to get.
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Our Editors Recommend
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