Seemingly separate events unfold one by one, only to come together in a terrifying and brutal way in this surprisingly impressive tale of a serial killer that collects fingers from each of his victims. Set in the UK, “Dark Signal” opens with a beautifully shot scene of a woman alone in her house in the countryside at night, complete with all of those wide angle shots that truly make you aware of the scope of just how alone she is. It is here we get our first look at the masked serial killer and his sheer brute ferocity, as he knocks the woman to the ground and presumably kills her. This is a man on a mission and he feels no remorse. The scene reminded me of those old slasher films from the 80’s, especially as we see his shadow stalk the exterior of the woman’s home. It’s the little things you appreciate like that – knowing the director took the time to include it.
As I said before, there are several intertwining stories that all coincide in the end, so I’m not going to go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil the movie. I will say it becomes increasingly clear how all the stories are connected as the movie plays out, so don’t get impatient when you’re 25 minutes in and the plot hasn’t exactly developed yet – it will, trust me. Once the story gets going, it’s a nonstop adrenaline rush of blood and violence and even spiritual possession and torture. Everything was laid out perfectly and even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, there’s a reason behind each scene playing out the way it does. Normally I would complain about the plot not getting anywhere in the first half-hour of a movie, but to say it makes up for it is an understatement.
To speak on the acting and character portrayal in “Dark Signal”, all I can say is bravo. The killer’s voice and mannerisms are so perfectly odd and deliberate and unnerving, and I loved it. You get a sense that he enjoys what he does and that in itself is upsetting to your mind – not in a bad way, actually in a refreshingly original “if Leatherface had a voice” kind of way. Every one of the actors are on their game in this film. I especially loved the female DJ character, who reminded me of Stevie Wayne in John Carpenter’s The Fog, complete with the tough, rebellious attitude. The actress playing the main character was unbelievable – in that she made me believe the things happening to her were actually happening to her. The scene in the basement with the spike especially had me cringing and I was equally impressed when she uses the hammer to fix it. Well done.
If I had to pick one scene to change, it would probably be the ending. I’m not going to spoil anything, I just believe it could have been written smarter. Up until this point, I had enjoyed everything about the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it ended the way it did, but little things like leaving the knife deliberately in the front seat with the woman so she had an extremely convenient way to escape the truck? And then the gimmicky one-liner as she throws the lighter at the end? These came off as lazy and didn’t keep true to what the rest of the film had built up. Regardless, I look forward to more horror films from Edward Evers-Swindell, who wrote and directed this delightfully refreshing supernatural slasher.
This movie is…
This is one of the better horror movies to come out this year, and will absolutely be apart of my Halloween horror marathon this year.
Cheers and goodnight.