No, these are NOT zombies. In fact, The Crazies were more like zombies than these crazies. The crazies in 2007’s The Signal are really just your normal everyday nut jobs. There’s no cannibalism here, just mere raw violence and brutality.
The film begins with barely naked women chained up in a sleazy locale. Torture porn? Nope! It’s just a movie some guy is watching on TV…a NAKED guy! Wahoo! Now that’s how you start a horror movie! (Of course, if you want to see what happens to the women on TV, it’s included as a short film in the DVD special features).
Anyway, the film is told in three intertwining stories. The plot is simple. A transmission being sent through phones, TV, and radio is causing people to go crazy. The execution is complex; each segment is handled by a different director, making this one of the most schizophrenic films I’ve ever seen.
The arching story follows the relationship between one woman and her husband…and her boyfriend…as average citizens begin to lose their shit and start killing each other. The first segment is tense and engrossing as we witness the crazy start to take over. But these aren’t obvious raving lunatics. These crazies seem sane, and believe that their atrocities, based on pure paranoia, are founded. It’s really a scary concept, because it’s not a far cry from the way people think today—how road ragers feel they are justified in their car chases, how wronged people feel they are entitled to their own justice, even if that means cold blooded murder.
The second story is the meat of the film—and if you are open to a change of tone, it’s actually darkly humorous. The film goes “funny” crazy, taking on the feel of a horror comedy. It all begins when a woman preparing for a New Year’s Eve party has to do in her suddenly crazy hubby with a balloon-filling machine. This segment is so schizo in the way it plays out that you begin to think you’re going crazy. We see through the eyes of crazies as they imagine characters are other characters. Or are they? Who’s crazy and who isn’t? Can we even tell after a while, when everyone seems to be murdering out of self-defense against who they presume to be the crazies? Crazy becomes infectious via devious manipulation and brainwashing. It so reminds me of life at my last job.
By the time the third story begins, I really had no idea who was crazy, who was sane, and if the characters I was seeing were actually who I believed they were. And were people coming back from the dead—which would make this a zombie film—or was it just my imagination? The main chick’s boyfriend heads to a terminal to meet her. Or is it her boyfriend? Is he actually her husband and the guy I thought was her husband all along was actually the boyfriend? Or did she really even have a boyfriend? I have no fricking idea. And I don’t know if I’ll have a better idea if I rewatch the film. Is it clear and I was just so distracted by the violence and craziness that I let the obvious exposition pass me by?
The film is quite entertaining and bizarre, and while not super gory, it has its fair share of visual brutality. And despite suspense being high, this isn’t a jump-out-of-your-seat scarefest. Definitely go into this one prepared to think. And prepare to leave it not knowing what to think.