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The Signal | 2014 | PG-13 | - 2.6.5

Two MIT students (Brenton Thwaites and Beau Knapp) dabble in computer hacking, but are not as good as the mysterious NOMAD. While driving cross-country through Nevada with one young man's girlfriend (Olivia Cooke), they follow NOMAD's IP address to a deserted blockhouse on a dirt road, and the friends find themselves in a government laboratory run by a strange doctor (Laurence Fishburne). Also with Lyn Shaye. Directed by William Eubank. [1:35]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman lie in bed asleep, fully clothed in lightweight sweat suits. A man kisses a woman's forehead three times and they hold hands in two scenes and brush fingertips in one scene.
 A woman breaks up with a man and cries.
 We see a close-up of a woman's buttocks and upper thighs below white panties covered halfway by a shirt; the woman walks out of the room and after she is gone, a male friend in the room whispers, "I want to see you naked" and chuckles. We see a close-up of a woman's bare thighs in cut-off short shorts. A man's hospital gown rises and we see white underwear without a fly and without any genital outlines; we see some of his upper thighs attached to robotic legs (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A dirty man wearing old clothes and with rotten brown teeth holds a shotgun as he sits in his easy chair; when a doctor questions him, the man speaks like a child and then roars; he attempts to shoot the rifle, but it is broken and from a view of the back of the chair, we see the doctor shoot the man and the bullet rips through the chair back and off-screen (from the front we see the man lying in the chair with his eyes and mouth open as the doctor covers him with an afghan).
 Two men and a woman drive a truck cab to a checkpoint where a fight breaks out and one of the first two men grabs an automatic rifle and fires it into the air several times, he runs into the checkpoint station and a grenade is thrown through the window, exploding with gas, fire and smoke as many windows shatter loudly; the man inside is blown outside, covered in dirt, mud and some blood and he tells his friends to get into the truck cab and leave and they all cry and scream and one image is of one of them screaming without sound; the man puts on broken eyeglasses and pounds the ground with his super-powered robotic fist, throwing four men wearing hazmat suits into the air and thick dust with their rifles flung away, he is shot in the back twice and groans as he punches through a short concrete pillar jamming the truck cab in place on the ground as we hear muffled rifle shots in the background.
 A man and a woman in a truck cab approach a roadblock and the man pounds the steering wheel as men wearing hazmat suits slide spikes into the roadway and the tires burst before a grenade is thrown and explodes, knocking the cab over; the man and the woman are shown on the ground, dirty and bloody on their faces, arms and hands as he whispers, "I'm sorry" (the woman is taken away to a helicopter and given an IV -- we do not see the needle injected).
 Two men and a woman drive on a rough dirt road to a narrower loose dirt road in the night in Nevada, discovering a small abandoned house in the desert; exploring with flashlights, one man sits in a corner and jumps up at his friend, making him shout and they hear the woman screaming outside and shouting at someone; they see a flash of light and a row of heavily clad men as the woman levitates in the light into something unseen in the sky as the scene ends.
 A man in a wheelchair ties an oxygen line to the gurney of a woman and wheels them both through two doors before being stopped; the camera cuts to a room where the man and the woman are shown on gurneys beside each other and two hazmat suited men struggle with the man, who falls to the floor with his face scraped and bloody and his gown pulls back to reveal robotic legs that make him gasp, hyperventilate, scream and shout at a doctor on the other side of an observation mirror (we see drops of blood on the dozen connections between each thigh and robotic leg as the man sweats profusely); he gets up and the doctor tells him to hook up to an IV, but the man refuses, kicking through the door, he clubs a hazmat-suited man with a crutch, and then runs and kicks down two more doors.
 A man awakens in a windowless laboratory with men wearing hazmat suits poking him and staring; he sees his girlfriend slapping against a wall trying to escape a small room and we later see her in a hospital bed with oxygen tubes clipped to her nose and hear that she is in a coma. We see a man's temple, cheek and nose scraped and bleeding as well as his neck with a small cut the oozes blood onto his shirt; an IV line runs from a holder on his wheelchair into a bandage on his hand and the bandage is later replaced by a bandage around the wrist with some blood showing; the man in the wheelchair asks a doctor why he cannot move and receives no reply.
 A man becomes frustrated with intelligence tests and shouts at the administrator, calling him names; the second man touches the first man's nose and says the small emission from the hose is only blood; he tells the injured man that he may be contaminated by aliens and the injured man discovers numbers tattooed on his wrist, resembling concentration camp tattoos.
 A man screams silently (no sound, only music) in close-up as his robotic legs begin to glow with fiery light showing through openings; we hear a loud whoosh as the screen goes black and comes back up as the man runs at super speed across a bridge, leaving cars and army vehicles in a roadblock burned black and smoldering; he crashes through a glass wall at the end of a bridge in slow motion and shattering glass fills the screen before he runs into a dark room and stops when he sees a man removing a hazmat helmet to reveal that his head and neck are made up of many thick electronic conduits.
 A cow stands tethered to the floor of a garage and the door rises; the lights go out and a male voice commands "Agitate!" as something cubical slams into the observation glass and the lights come on; we see the cow, unharmed as it backs out of the room and off-screen while a loudspeaker squawks: "The subject has escaped" and we see deep gouges in the walls about four feet off the floor on both side of a long hallway and when a man asks what they are, he is refused an explanation.
 A man runs after a truck after he sees a woman get inside; he gets knocked off the running board by the driver, falls with a scraped face, then gets back up and using super speed he catches the cab as the woman points a handgun that she found in the seat at the driver's head and the first man and the woman steal the truck.
 A man and a woman drive for hours, but cannot get out of a community before they discover that all roads end abruptly at a desert landscape they cannot enter; staying overnight in an abandoned museum, they are attacked by men wearing hazmat suits and carrying rifles.
 An old woman answers questions of a doctor in an interrogation room, laughing, snapping her fingers, bobbing her head while having facial tics, and repeating herself; the doctor opens a briefcase containing a handgun and the scene ends.
 A man pulls a woman on a gurney through dark sewers and outside, helps the woman off the gurney and they support each other as they walk through the desert where they are picked up by a woman with a picture of Jesus hanging from her dashboard; the woman tells them to listen to the air with their mouths open and then begins to gasp, groan and smile as she says that God's angels (a mysterious "They") always look after people and turns her car in at a small truck stop.
 A man walks with forearm crutches, stumbling at times and in one scene, falling and spilling three large cups of coffee from a carryout, but he is unhurt. In a flashback, we see a man running a footrace with other men and falling in a large mud puddle, suggesting that the fall disabled his legs and he tells a woman that he sees a doctor twice weekly and has MRIs and other tests, probably for his lifetime. We see that a has robot hands. A woman's lower neck at the back shows a surgical port similar to a chemo port, under a tattooed number.
 In a small room with a floor drain, two men wearing hazmat suits use push brooms to scrub blood from the floor and walls. A man is shown footage of a thick mesh-like net of tissue and told that it is not human and likely an extraterrestrial causing him to startle and gasp; back in his room, the man hears whispers and discovers a male friend on the other side of an air vent, who tells him they are contaminated and that something happened to his arms.
 Two men shout at each other about their capture by strange men and one of the two men shouts that they are in Area 51 in a huge government annex. A computer hacker hacks into a woman's laptop computer, asking, "Are you agitated?" and her two male friends say that the man is being threatening.
 A man in a bar spits into a cup, but we do not see the spittle.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 3 F-words (one clearly stated and two muffled), 10 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, exclamations (shut-up), name-calling (infants, stupid, weird, foolish, dumb, pathetic, quack, old relic, stone wheel, Mickey Mouse, dinosaur), stereotypical references to men, women, college students, computer hackers, rednecks, old women, government agents, ETs, police officers, mad scientists, 2 religious profanities (GD), 9 religious exclamations (Jesus [on a sign in a home], Oh My God, Oh God, Holy, Jesus Christ, Christ).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man and a woman on a road trip put large tablets into their mouths (the tablets may be drugs or not, but their behavior does not change). Bottles of beer are shown on a couple of tables in a bar (no one drinks).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Computer hackers, kidnapping, close encounters of the fourth kind (alien abduction), human experimentation, fear, courage, determination, sacrifice, relationships, friendship, loyalty, government conspiracies, Area 51, outer space.

MESSAGE - Beware of computer hackers and report them to authorities.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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