Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Jeremy Knox
    80
    If you’re tired of zombie films or rabid people films, Signal is like a cool drink of water on a hot day. It’s got all the goodness from the best of those genres while creating its own niche at the same time.
  2. 78
    Both apocalyptic and suitably vague, The Signal's only serious weakness comes from some borderline histrionic performances; then again, it's tough to call hysteria anything other than a sane response to a world gone mad. Crazy, man.
  3. 75
    Unlike traditional zombie romps, these crazies don't stumble around mindlessly, noshing on human flesh. They look and act like normal people - until the second they go bonkers.
  4. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    75
    The Signal has its share of things to say about urban paranoia, road rage, addiction - whether to sex, drugs or, more dangerously, consumerism. But it stands apart from other pictures of the same ilk by using its apocalypse as a backdrop to a bitter-sweet love story.
  5. 75
    It has a creepy power all its own.
  6. 75
    The Signal is like a Romero zombie movie in which the zombies aren't dead, they're just really temperamental. Evil here is technology-born. Maybe our cellphones and satellite dishes are giving us all the crazy.
  7. The film suffers slightly from diminishing returns -- its first third is by far its scariest -- but it's still a bold, artful take on a popular horror idea.
  8. 75
    The gimmicky yet strangely moving new fright flick The Signal distinguishes itself not through originality, but by smartly integrating just about every popular trend afflicting contemporary horror films.
  9. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    70
    Borrowing heavily from the current trend in zombie comedy and apocalyptic horror but shifting it away from the usual undead norms, pic carves out a fresh angle in the crowded indie horror universe while blatantly stealing ideas from Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Pulse."
  10. 70
    Cagey low-budget horror flick.
  11. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    60
    Part 1, directed by David Bruckner is superb, with affecting performances, a sense of dread reminiscent of John Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness” and many striking images. Part 2, directed by Dan Bush aims for George Romero-style ghastly humor, but it’s more grating than funny. Part 3, directed by Jacob Gentry adds a splash of tragic love, but its preference for gore over feeling becomes monotonous.
  12. Mostly comes down to rage fiends going at one another with baseball bats, knives, pesticide tanks, and power drills.
  13. The picture eventually collapses under the weight of its own gimmickry, but it's still an entertaining distraction for cerebral horror fans who want an appetizer before the B-horror feast that is "Diary of the Dead."
  14. Just another low-budget effort from filmmakers who mistake cleverness for smarts.
  15. The movie has grand (and Grand Guignol) bits and pieces, but despite the hype it’s no big deal. By horror standards, the premise isn’t especially outlandish.
  16. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    50
    This uneven but impressive shot-on-digital shocker earns a marker in the mausoleum of apocalyptic horror--a genre that's proving (un)surprisingly durable in the new century.
  17. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    50
    In a movie about perception, misperception and the ramifications of misunderstanding, it's a bit ironic that the directors can't get out of one another's way.
  18. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    38
    The Signal combines the inconstancy of an omnibus film with the blandness of art by committee. The end result feels less like a blend of distinct styles than an opportunistic hodgepodge, a second-hand premise wedded to an attention-grabbing gimmick.
  19. 38
    It doesn't take long for the The Signal's promising beginning to fade into a haze that leaves the viewer exhausted and irritated.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 19
  2. Negative: 5 out of 19
  1. Feb 14, 2014
    6
    What a strange and unique movie this was. Something rare to see done. It certainly stands out enough to be interesting but in others ways can just feel like a repeat of films like "The Crazies". Full Review »
  2. Aug 14, 2011
    9
    The Signal is perhaps one of the best horror films to be released in recent years. It's highlighted by both its experimental nature and its frightening message, that the media will slowly drive us crazy. Well, not slowly, not in this movie. While watching television, making phone calls, and/or listening to the radio, the citizens of Terminus are susceptible to becoming violent raving lunatics thanks to a mysterious signal. It's reminiscent of body snatcher and zombie films, but there is an eerie sort of twist: those affected by the signal have no idea that anything is wrong with them. Instead, they view others as threats to their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. As one of the Affected states, "It's telling me what I should do, what I should want. I want my wife, and I want my home, and I want all you people to stop bothering us." Of course, this is first and foremost a horror film, and The Signal never gets too heavy-handed in the delivery of its message. It's actually quite scary and funny, and often at the same time. The film follows several characters through three loosely-connected chapters (called transmissions, each created by a different director) that vary wildly in delivery. The first transmission is arguably the best, crafting horror around uncertainty and building suspense with a surreal atmosphere. The second takes pitch black humor to the next level, yet also manages to include the film's single most disturbing scene. The third transmission turns the film into a psychological thriller about losing one's mind. Despite this, the film works; it feels like a whole (much more so, in fact, than many other films with just one director). Sure, there are shortcomings; two of the actors are not exactly good enough to carry the dialogue-heavy climax, which will lose some audience members, and the film's budget is apparent in several scenes. Of course, these are minor complaints when looking at the film as a whole. It's an excellent horror film that takes a jarring look at the messages of fear we receive from media sources almost every day: the outside world is a dangerous place, those whose views differ from ours are inherently an enemy of sorts, and we must do what we can to protect the ones we love. With this fear semi-constantly drilled into our minds, how long will it take for people to finally snap? Full Review »