The Signal (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-10-2008, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=112652&d=1213124592
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

85






Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 Minutes
Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: Spanish, English
Starring: AJ Bowen, Anessa Ramsey, Justin Welborn, Scott Poythress, Sahr Cheri Christian, Chad McKnight
Directed by: David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry, Dan Bush
Written by: David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry, Dan Bush
Region Code: Not Indicated

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 10, 2008







"Do you have the Crazy?"



Film Synopsis:



It’s New Years Eve in the city of Terminus, and chaos is this year’s resolution. All forms of communication have been jammed by a mysterious transmission that preys on fear and desire, driving everyone in the city to murder and madness.



My Take:

I don’t consider myself to be a horror movie fan however I have nothing against them. I had never heard of this film prior to this review and had no expectations going in. The film opens with two women being terrorized by a maniacal killer who has them captive. You soon realize that what you are seeing is a television program/movie. The camera pans outward and reveals a couple lying in bed. The male is awakened by a strange sound that is now coming from the television. Later you find out that the sound is some form of interference, with a signal imbedded within it that drives people who view/listen to it for a short length of time, into murderous rampages. The same signal is being broadcast on every channel, over radio, telephone and cellular.

attachment.php?attachmentid=112653&d=1213124698

The story is told in three distinct parts and is directed by three separate directors. The opening segment sets up the three main characters and as things unfold becomes brutally graphic and violent. At that point I felt like I was watching another typical slasher type movie whose purpose was to see just how much gore could be fit into an hour and a half. The second segment totally took me off guard. It introduces three new characters, one of whom continues further into the story. This dealt with a couple who were planning a New Years Eve party and essentially decides that they are not going to let the crazy happenings (people killing one another outside their door) ruin their plans. Obviously that is not what occurs and things quickly turn to chaos. Amidst all of this the dialogue and situations took on a satirical edge that was comical at times. At that point the film took on a different feel which I found interesting. The third and final segment brought the three of them together. The final minutes were a little disjointed and I think I understood what they were shooting for but its hard to say for certain. This is a low budget production that to me appeared to make the most of their resources.




Parental Guide:

The rating is appropriate and is for brutal violence, gore, nudity and language. This is not one for young viewers!






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 90



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 80


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692


attachment.php?attachmentid=112654&d=1213124698

The Signal Comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p AVC encoded video with an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound with an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.

I have to admit that for a low budget film this soundtrack sounded really good. This is an aggressive mix that literally pounds the room with aural stimulation. The subwoofer was constantly at work delivering the extensive and sometimes room shaking low end activity. Chapter 15 (at about the 01:29 mark) contained a rich, deep low bass tone that must have reached down into the sub 30 hz regions. Dynamics were powerful and quick as the sounds emanating from the speakers traversed the room. Dialogue was crystalline through the center channel. Sonic details were crisp and airy with superb tonal quality. The entire surround platform was used to excellent effect to create an immersive and engaging experience.

The video presentation had a few minor issues. The first thing that struck me was that detail and sharpness were not consistent. There were many scenes were detail and perceptible resolution delivered images that were transparent with good dimensionality and depth. It should be noted that the majority of these shots were close ups. There were too many instances where the quality of the image softened and took on a duller appearance where fine detail disappeared. It was enough that I found it to be distracting. Colors were rendered cleanly with good variety and natural looking hues. The only thing I noticed was that reds leaned more toward sepia in tone than perhaps they should have. Fake blood is used quite a bit so it could be that this was done intentionally for some reason. Blacks were deep but slightly crushed which obscured some detail within dark areas and shadows. I didn’t notice any compression related video noise but edge enhancement was visible if I looked for it. This one will probably look better on smaller displays but I would not say that it was unacceptable at 96”.



Bonus Features:



The bonus content bundled along with The Signal is comprehensive and offers viewers a look at the minds behind the film. The three writers/directors offer their insights into the film from several perspectives which cover its concept and production. They included here The Hap Hapgood Story which is a short film shot by them back in 2003. It is featured in the film’s beginning and stars Scott Poythress who portrays Clark in The Signal. The Transmission pieces offers a “what if” look at several possible situations that could occur as a result of The “Signal”. My favorite was the Signal Breakdown feature as it looked at each of the films segments individually and broke them down. All in all I found these to be fairly insightful and mildly entertaining.




  • 2 Deleted scenes

  • The Signal (itself)

  • Inside Terminus: The Making of The Signal

  • Signal Breakdown

  • Transmission Intro

  • Transmisson 14: Technical Difficulties

  • Transmission 23: The Return

  • Transmission 37: Cross town Traffic

  • The Hap Hapgood Story (short film)

  • The Signal Director’s Commentary
attachment.php?attachmentid=112655&d=1213124698



Final Thoughts:



I can’t say that I liked The Signal but I do think that it has something to offer. Its concept is not original but I appreciated its execution. This is a violent and bloody film that some may find objectionable so bear that in mind. On the positive side it has a serious soundtrack that will test the limits of your system when pushed. It is being released day and date on Blu-ray along with the DVD which I am sure fans will appreciate.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


Sony VPL-VW50 SXRD 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 10 Old 06-10-2008, 07:26 PM
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Nice review Ralph. This is the first time I am hearing about this movie. It's good to see Magnolia getting back into the BD ship.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-10-2008, 09:49 PM
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"This is a violent and bloody film that some may find objectionable so bear that in mind."
With a DTS-MA track. And the audio got a 90. I'm in.

I wanted to check this one out when it was in theaters but I missed it. It's awesome that Magnolia came back with lossless audio.

Thanks for the review. "brutal violence, gore, nudity and language." yeah, I pretty much have to buy it now.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

Studio quality tier
Most Major studios>Small Studios>dogs>cats>Warner(the guys that do new movies)
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-11-2008, 02:10 AM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph. Sounds like this could be interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

"brutal violence, gore, nudity and language." yeah, I pretty much have to buy it now.

Yep, that's my criteria for checking out a film.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-11-2008, 06:13 AM
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I just received this movie through Netflix. I wasn't sure how I was going to like it, but after this review I can't wait to watch it tonight.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-12-2008, 12:49 PM
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Saw this movie last night and was impressed. Very enjoyable.


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post #7 of 10 Old 06-14-2008, 01:54 AM
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i just watched this movie and was wondering if anybody noticed any distortion when people would yell or raise their voices in this movie (examples when the woman is crying and screaming on the bed, end of movie when characters are talking)

my setup is sr805, ascend speakers and a ps3.

i have heard this distortion on some other low budget films but i watched the patriot right after this at about the same volume level about -10db to -15db from referece levels without any noticeable distortion.

is this most likely the audio track on the blu ray disc and not my speakers?

this has been my conclusion

figured i would ask some people here that have saw this movie
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 07:11 AM
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Always refreshing to see a different take on the genre. Great movie
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-06-2008, 12:09 AM
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This was a strange movie- a cleverly weaved combination of dry humor and over-the-top violence/gore. It's a lot like Hot Fuzz (and that other one that came before it), imo- just more intense. The weaving of several story-threads is also pleasing (though not an original technique, at this point, still nicely done).

Watching the actual "signal" was interesting, too (yeah, I actually stuck around for the full 10 min). Originally, I thought I would just catch a few minutes, but then I waited a little longer out of curiosity for what variations would come up next...and then it became 5 min, after which I figured, might as well just stick through the full 10 at this point. Fortunately, I did not suffer from any psychopathic effects. If you are a fan of "sound", that is what seems most intriguing to make you sit through the whole 10 (whereas the visual gets repetitive, shortly). A few minutes into it, you hit an area where it really hammers your tweeters with some 16 kHz-ish tone (while there is also a lot of subwoofer work, it is fairly uncommon to get such treatment on the treble end). It was so piercing at one point, I felt I should howl like a dog in response to dog whistle.

The weirdest thing about all of this, is that I rented the movie under the impression it was another movie, altogether. It still delivered an entertaining evening, though. Now I have no idea what the other movie I thought it was is (something about an infected city that is locked up in quarantine, and then a bunch of not-infected people gather somewhere in the center and "hold down the fort"?).

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post #10 of 10 Old 07-06-2008, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky View Post

This was a strange movie- a cleverly weaved combination of dry humor and over-the-top violence/gore. It's a lot like Hot Fuzz (and that other one that came before it), imo- just more intense. The weaving of several story-threads is also pleasing (though not an original technique, at this point, still nicely done).

Watching the actual "signal" was interesting, too (yeah, I actually stuck around for the full 10 min). Originally, I thought I would just catch a few minutes, but then I waited a little longer out of curiosity for what variations would come up next...and then it became 5 min, after which I figured, might as well just stick through the full 10 at this point. Fortunately, I did not suffer from any psychopathic effects. If you are a fan of "sound", that is what seems most intriguing to make you sit through the whole 10 (whereas the visual gets repetitive, shortly). A few minutes into it, you hit an area where it really hammers your tweeters with some 16 kHz-ish tone (while there is also a lot of subwoofer work, it is fairly uncommon to get such treatment on the treble end). It was so piercing at one point, I felt I should howl like a dog in response to dog whistle.

The weirdest thing about all of this, is that I rented the movie under the impression it was another movie, altogether. It still delivered an entertaining evening, though. Now I have no idea what the other movie I thought it was is (something about an infected city that is locked up in quarantine, and then a bunch of not-infected people gather somewhere in the center and "hold down the fort"?).

Greetings,

Mr. H, thanks for your impressions...

Cheers,

Ralph C. Potts
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