Horror Movie Review: Dark Signal (2016)

I decided to watch this when I saw Neil Marshall’s name attached, only in a producer position mind you, but it was enough to interest me. If you don’t know Neil Marshall, he has a damn fine track record with movies like Dog Soldiers & The Descent under his belt. He’s had a few missteps too, The Descent sequel is one that jumps to mind…and now this.

Marshall, the rest of the production team, the director (Edward Evers-Swindell), the actors, the script writers, the costume department, the fucking caterers…they all have to take some responsibility for this stinking pile of garbage.

A plot so stupid that I had to pause it several times just to rant about how dumb the previous scene was. Actors so bad that I swear my brain was beginning to leak out of my ears, jump scares so infuriating that it made me want to commit violent acts to the person who came up with them. At over an hour and a half this is a movie that will make you angry in between the many moments that just bore.

At about the 30 minute mark, I had to stop the movie and ask…what the hell is going on? By the end I was still asking that!

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Split into two stories that eventually come together, first we meet Kate, a single mother with some of the worst acting I’ve seen this year. She is under pressure looking after her disabled son (who also may be mute…I don’t know, he never speaks throughout the movie) & this is emphasised as we see bailiffs from the bank arrive & claim her TV. Just her TV mind, which looks like it cost peanuts.

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This is supposed to be an emotional scene as they do it while the boy is watching cartoons but here is the first problem that arises in the movie. The boy looks like he couldn’t care less & his mother tries to act like she’s upset about it before settling down to Skype with some guy on her Mac laptop. So let me get this straight…she can’t afford the repayments the bank wanted but can afford an Internet connection (she’s using Skype so you know it’s broadband) and a bloody Mac laptop.

There’s a hilarious scene shortly afterwards where we see the mute kid trying to tune a radio in. This while his supposedly loving mother Skypes on her expensive laptop with some guy before kissing goodbye another who was upstairs!

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She’s an awful mother who puts herself before her mute disabled kid…and I’m supposed to get behind her later in the movie when her & the boys life is in danger? I kept thinking that the kid would be better off with the killer, at least he might get to watch TV.

Oh yeah, there’s a killer in this, in case the DVD cover, description & blurb had you confused. Oh it’s also a ghost story & has some lovely torture porn moments too. This is a film that throws everything at the wall trying to see what sticks yet most of it it slides down slowly leaving a sticky gross looking residue.

So, the Wedlock killer…so called because those he targets lose their ‘wedding’ finger to him, a trophy as it where. He’s been on the rampage for some time now & doesn’t look likely to be caught. Not because he’s particularly good or anything, in fact by the end the only reason he couldn’t have been caught is because the police were incredibly dumb or they just didn’t care.

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Anyway back to the plot…so bad mum is going to help her bad-boy boyfriend rob the house of a footballer who owes him money. She’s not to sure about it but needs the cash, presumably so she can upgrade her laptops memory or something. All she has to do is be a lookout as this footballer lives in a secluded spot that is private land.

Elsewhere we have rock chick/emo Laurie who is about to perform her last ever radio show as the station is being switched off. She’s not happy about it but alongside her producer Ben she is planning to go out with a bang.

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You see she’s a bit edgy, we know this because it’s said quite a bit but after listening to her bitter filled, egocentric show I couldn’t understand why. Seriously, who puts a track on claiming it’s an amazing song when it’s your own song? Edgy Laurie does. It’s not even a good song!

Anyway as the night goes on & under the request of her producer Ben she agrees to do a short interview with a medium. During their awkward chat a sound is picked up & on playback it appears as though it’s a voice. The medium & producer want to try and contact the voice believing it to be a ghost but Laurie is skeptical. Naturally she relents & they make contact with a spirit, the most talkative spirit in Wales! She just wouldn’t shut up until it came to giving the finer details about the identity of the wedlock killer who murdered her.

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This same ghost, confusingly seems to be haunting Kate over at the house. There though, she’s less chatty & more about jumping out at everyone including….get this, an actual tracked scream in the audio to try and really make you jump. Dead girl jumping out of the shadows didn’t do it? Try the loud scream!

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Kate has several quite intense dealings with this ghost yet still seems content to just sit there & ask ‘who’s there?’ Eventually she figures something is up & after an uncomfortable dealing with the local farmer she wanders off to the house to see where her bad-boy fella has gotten too. At the house she discovers that no footballer lives there, in fact it’s the house of the farmer she met as well as his daughter (who also happens to be the ghost!). She discovers her body in the basement before she is knocked unconscious by the returning farmer who believes her to be responsible!

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He plans to extract his revenge on her & Kate just can’t seem to find the words to explain exactly what has been going on. It’s not like he wouldn’t have listened, in fact several times he asks her why? Instead of, oh I don’t know, telling him about her fella & his plan & why she was waiting she just keeps saying ‘I don’t know what’s going on’. It’s infuriating & one of those stupid plot devices that insults the audience.

Anyway, before he can do any damage to her he is killed from behind. Not by a rescuer though but the wedlock killer who has returned for reasons… I don’t know. He hides his face so you can’t see who it is but he sets about torturing Kate for a bit including smashing up her kneecap in a hilarious scene.

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He than leaves with the intention of going after her kid who has recently become possessed & is being taken to the radio station by his nanny (as that is where Kate said she was going).

Kate has no choice but to fix her knee (which she does) and get after him before it’s too late for everyone at the station. Oh & don’t forget the ghost.

I think it’s clear I hate this movie, it’s bad all the way through with sub-plots all over the place that just make things even worse. Terrible acting from the leads & a killer reveal that makes little sense, it’s a chore to watch.

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It’s hard to really come up with any positives….I laughed a lot but I’m sure that was not their intention. So there you go, Dark Signal is a terrible horror movie filled with terrible cliches & some of the worst jump scares I’ve seen in years but it’s a hell of a comedy!

That 1 is for the comedy. Thanks for making me laugh with your terrible movie.

Dark Signal
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