Parents' Guide to

The Signal

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Sci-fi tale looks great but isn't very original.

Movie PG-13 2014 95 minutes
The Signal Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 15+

Hack, hack, hack

Some young people tracks down a hacker on a nomansland road trip, but only to end to be an extraterrestrial experiment. If you love classic 2010s scifi with overpowered nerds that is more brain than shoot em up stream this.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much consumerism
age 15+

Missed the Target - Not Sure What the Target Was

Confusing, like the film's creators don't want viewers to understand the plot. A mystery to figure out is one thing; a stupid jumble is another. Action jumps from scene to scene of unrealistic science perpetrated by inhumane scientists. What and where is this mysterious place where the main protagonist is imprisoned? And why? Is he really contaminated with alien bacteria or something? His missing buddy, who suddenly appears inexplicably garbed like the scientists, explains - sort of. I wanted to care about the teens' predicament but they weren't all that likable. Ultimately I was just glad when the film finally ended, even though the last scene is....still confusing, natch. Not worth the effort to figure it all out!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (3):

THE SIGNAL is the second feature by former cameraman William Eubank, and it looks terrific. He clearly understands the concept of visual space and clarity, rather than the cluttered jumble of so many other sci-fi movies. It opens intimately, with cozy spaces for the three friends, then widens on those creepy, sterile white hallways, followed by disorienting, never-ending stretches of dusty Nevada desert.

Where the movie falters is in its plot, which does have a few cool surprises and powerhouse moments, but for the most part appears to have been borrowed from many other sci-fi movies. The Signal isn't very good at disguising its intentions or throwing viewers off balance. But Eubank has done a fine job with his casting, creating three interesting performances and avoiding the usual disposable, interchangeable teens. And Laurence Fishburne has a tangy supporting role that looks like it must have been fun.

Movie Details

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