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Halloween Horror Countdown 2010 Day 3 October 5, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Film Thing, Movie News.
Tags: , , , ,

The Signal
Directed by David Bruckner, Dan Bush, & Jacob Gentry

“Do you have the crazy?”

This film deals with an event in the city of Terminus, wherein all telecommunications devices begin to broadcast a signal that drives people to madness. It alters their perceptions, eventually making them all killers.

The film is broken up into three segments, called “Transmissions” each directed by one of the three directors. The transmissions vary in flavor, making one cohesive story that is sometimes splatter film, sometimes a black comedy, and sometimes a brutal psychological thriller and romance.

The film is brutal, with some moments that shine through as statements about the nature of society and our relationship with technology. It is also, at times, hilarious. These are both good things and prove a strength . . . but could unfortunately prove to be the film’s greatest weakness. At times it just can’t seem to decide what it is, and I feel that a more singular vision at the helm would have elevated the film from just good into greatness.

Still, though, for what I did like I’ll give it four spooky pumpkins out of five.

Red Sands
Directed by Alex Turner

The film opens with a text explanation of what a djinn is . . . a powerful spirit made of smokeless flame, able to take many forms. In pre-Islamic mythology they were said to have been created by God before life, and that they hate humanity.

Red Sands is set in Afghanistan in 2002, not long after the US invasion. A squad of soldiers is assigned to monitor a desert road that intelligence suggests Al Qaeda may be using to transport supplies. While en route to the location of their posting they come upon a statue, which their linguist suggests may be representative of a djinn, and he goes on to say that the belief was they had to be imprisoned in objects. The required-by-Hollywood-law dumb hick of the squadron grows bored and takes a potshot at that statue, which, combined with its age, causes it to crumble.

After they arrive at their posting there is a huge sandstorm. A mysterious Afghan woman arrives through the storm and the unit takes her prisoner for further questioning. Members of the unit begin to have hallucinations related to their previous experiences in the war, and just when they’ve all but done everything in their power to convince the audience it’s post-traumatic stress disorder, men start to die under strange circumstances.

I understand what the film is trying to do. It attempts to be a parable about the dangers of going blindly into a land you don’t truly understand. One could even argue that it’s about the ability of war to destroy even the survivors of combat. The film pulls too many of those punches though, and too often takes the road of standard horror film.

I give it three spooky pumpkins out of five.



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