Movies / reviews

Brad reviews “Dark Signal” (2016)

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Brad continues his journey into the horror genre and delves into “Dark Signal”, Dir. Edward Evers-Swindell, Produced by Neil Marshall (Of Dog Soldiers fame) & Starring Siwan Morris, Gareth David-Lloyd, and Duncan Pow.  

Deep in the heart of the isolated Welsh valleys an eerie hush spreads throughout the deserted wilds. Stranded and terrified, single mother, Kate, finds herself entangled in an ill-thought-out plan: a midnight robbery about to take a dangerous turn. On lookout for her boyfriend, and left trembling in the middle of a secluded forest, she quickly realises she is not alone. With her is the vengeful spirit of a murdered girl…

Meanwhile, across the valley at a local radio station, Ben and Laurie are midway through their last ever radio show. With the arrival of medium, Carla, and filled with determination to go out with a bang, Laurie and Ben are about to get much more than they bargained for. Patching together fragments of ghostly sounds, they begin to unravel the clues to a frightening crime before doing do the unthinkable…making contact with the dead.

What carried me along for the first half of the movie was firstly, how likeable the majority of the main cast were – and secondly – the mystery of exactly how these two seemingly separate plots would end up meeting together. The combination of Kate’s bizarre crime story, and Laurie and Ben’s more supernatural adventure keep you guessing as to what is really going on right up to the end.

Dark Signal is very far from being a perfect movie, but there is plenty to enjoy here; and there’s more than a few thrills and scares along the way. During especially intense scenes, the music and camera work combines to make some pretty tense experiences. The paranormal elements in particular are presented very well, and it’s not hard to feel drawn in by them. In fact, it’s a bit of a shame that the movie didn’t feature more moments like these, as they were undoubtedly its strongest point.

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This isn’t to say that Dark Signal is badly paced – that it most certainly is not. The story is a slow burner, and any attempt to speed things up would surely have backfired. In terms of pacing it sometimes feels more like a novel than a movie; with all the good and bad that entails.

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The sound design is worthy of a special mention, too, as the effects utilised on the “voices from the other side” were pretty damn good. It’s a shame then, that when the Big Bad Evil Dude has his mask on, he sounds almost exactly like Star Wars’ Kylo Ren, to the point of, unfortunately, breaking any tension. I don’t know whether this was intentional or not, but it really doesn’t work for either the character or the scene.

With all this great pacing and build up, it’s a real shame that the final scene ends up feeling so damned rushed and cliched. There are a lot of great ideas in Dark Signal, but the last twenty minutes or so really stop it from being the sum of its parts. There are lots of great ideas in here, and I can’t want to see what the director does next, but there’s just too many flaws here to call it truly “good”. Give it a rental or catch it on a digital streaming service, but as a purchase, this is only for real horror addicts.

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6/10

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