Trying to coax horror staples the gory slasher and the chilling ghost story to mate agreeably is always asking for trouble. This doesn’t stop new Brit flick Dark Signal from brokering a union and the result is more uneven than a roller coaster and only occasionally as thrilling.
Late night DJ with baggage Laurie thinks it’s just her career that is destined for a trip down the toilet but as her last show airs she faces a fight to the death against a bolt-cutter swinging finger hacker. Her producer Ben invites a sultry psychic into the studio provoking a restless spirit to join the party surfing in on the waves of their still analogue broadcast. Meanwhile skint selfie taker Kate is cocking about in the nearby countryside helping to rob a rich footballer with her irksome boyfriend to secure the readies for a never specified operation for her disabled son.
If the above synopsis seems a tad overstuffed then that’s because this flick is a prime example of kitchen sink film making. If it also sounds like it could be relatively entertaining…well that’s because in all honesty so is the movie. Chucking everything it can get its digit deprived hands on at the screen Dark Signal is a cinematic lucky dip with a mousetrap at the bottom of the bag.
As the film pings wildly from subplot to location to twist and back again the camerawork and score match the pace without too much of a distracting struggle and the quality cast do their level best to deliver the schlock saturated script with conviction. The appearance of Fulci, D’Amato and Argento actress Cinzia Monreale as a beligured medium adds a welcome touch of cult class.
The physical side of the theatrics however are superb. The various violent fights and offings are well choreographed and thrillingly consummated through a combination of muscular acting and quality effects work. Dark Signal even finds time to shoehorn a spot of chisel based torture porn into the mix with the most cringe inducing “hobbling” since Cathy Bates last reached for a sledgehammer.
This enthusiastic mash up does not strain to feather the edges as it blends influences. Instead it opts to carpet bomb the viewer into dazed submission leaving them bewildered in smoldering craters of bad character decision and enveloped in smoke from the still burning plot holes.
Early on in the proceedings one of our feisty heroines tools up with a tire iron. Not just any tire iron but a four way cross wheel brace nut wrench you understand. Pretty soon she tapes a glow stick to each arm crafting a kind of 80’s rave culture skull ruiner. By the time this weapon has gone through further upgrades including a ludicrous spirit guided sonar device you are left with a perfect metaphor for this picture in general.
Over ambitious, enjoyably eclectic but ultimately ridiculous.
[rating=3] | Bradley Hadcroft
Horror, Slasher, Ghost Story| UK, 2016 | 95 min | 18 | Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment | UK DVD / Digital HD 30th May 2016 | Dir. Edward Evers-Swindell| Siwan Morris, Gareth David-Lloyd, Joanna Ignaczewska | Buy