Film Review: The Signal – 7/10

The Twilight Zone meets X-Men


The Signal starts off as a relatively straight forward hacker road trip but then quickly takes a turn for the bizarre and never stops turning. A young cast featuring the decent Brenton Thwaites, the slightly better Olivia Cooke and the brilliant Beau Knapp is held together by veteran actor Laurence Fishburne who is suitably sinister as a mysterious scientist.

A common criticism of films of this ilk is that they can’t decide what they want to be. The Signal director William Eubank doesn’t seem to care much for choosing a genre as The Signal flits between Sci-Fi, Action, Romantic Drama and Found Footage horror. This seems to have been a deliberate choice on Eubank’s part to disorientate the viewer however, rather than a lack of ideas.

Eubank mixes some grandiose ideas and Terrence Malick-esque arty direction with over the top plot twists to create a baffling but compelling viewing experience. The Signal is not a film you will forget in a hurry but the pay off of the final twist at the end is offset by the fact that rest of the film is so weird which reduces any shock value.

I don’t know what genre The Signal is supposed to be, I don’t know what the message of The Signal is supposed to be, hell I don’t even know if it is any good or not. I do know that it left me wanting more though and that is always a good thing.

Film Review: 28 Days Later – 9/10

Even one girls horrific acting doesn’t make Danny Boyle’s bleakest work any less nightmarish…


Zombie films had gone seriously out of fashion during the 90’s but Danny Boyle brought the classic genre back with a bang in 2002 with 28 Days Later. Whilst the ‘infected’ in Boyle’s horror masterpiece are not technically zombies as they don’t die and come back to life, in every other sense they are the same as the army of the undead made so popular by George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead franchise. What Danny Boyle did is move away from shuffling, groaning corpses to sprinting and screaming lunatics crashing through your front room window. It is such a simple idea to have the zombies running rather than stumbling but it reinvigorated the genre and paved the way for Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake as well as the Resident Evil franchise, World War Z, Zombieland and many others.

28 Days Later is more than just a zombie film though, taking in isolation and man’s inhumanity or ‘people killing people’ as it is described so succinctly by the always reliable Christopher Ecclestone, there is a haunting quality that lingers long after the final credits. It is Cillian Murphy in the main role who really impresses, seeing his character completely transformed in the third act whilst still maintaining a believable performance. In support Brendan Gleeson and Naomie Harris are both a little over the top and this grates at times but much worse is newcomer Megan Burns as Gleeson’s daughter Hannah. Almost every one of Burns’ lines is delivered so robotically it is hard to watch and it is no surprise she never acted again after 28 Days Later.


Megan Burns stinks the place out as Hannah.

In the opening ‘Hello’ sequence and the climactic ‘In a Heartbeat’ conclusion, Danny Boyle has crafted two of the most perfect scenes in the history of horror and it is these bookends that ensure that 28 Days Later will always be considered a horror classic.

Film Review: 28 Weeks Later – 6/10

28 Days Later but for a dumbed down American audience…


Director Danny Boyle took zombie films to the next level with his seminal classic 28 Days Later, unfortunately 28 Weeks Later feels like two steps back. This is especially disappointing as it all starts off so well. The opening scene is a frenzied and harrowing introduction and a reminder of how terrifying the world has become in the wake of the rage virus. It is mostly downhill from there as England is now a military state in the hands of the American army which means Rose Byrne putting on an American accent and Jeremy Renner playing an unimaginative stock soldier character.

The scenes with British trio Robert Carlyle, Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton work best as this most brings to mind what made the original so good. Hails of bullets and massive explosions are a mile away from the isolation and claustrophobia of the first film. The behaviour of the infected has changed as well with them becoming a lot more ‘bitey’ to suit the common perception of zombies and there is even suggestion of retained memories and a survival extinct which is both unexplained and at odds with 28 Days Later.


Another disappointment is that key moments from the first film such as eye gouging and the unforgettable soundtrack are recycled here although the opening and the helicopter scene are powerful and wholly original which makes 28 Weeks Later a frustrating watch as it is evident the potential for a great piece of work was present.

There have been much worse horror sequels but 28 Days Later was so good it didn’t really need the story to be continued.