DARK SIGNAL (2016)
Co-written and Directed by Edward Evers-Swindell
In North Wales, a radio show broadcasts for the final time with the station’s number one DJ looking to go out with a bang. Meanwhile, Kate, a single mother to a disabled son, is struggling to make ends meet and after being paid a visit from the bailiffs, agrees to join her boyfriend on a burglary to act as lookout in exchange for money. Little do these two sets of people realise that events will bring them together as the deadly Wedlock Killer prowls around the Welsh region.
Part supernatural thriller, part slasher, DARK SIGNAL is one of the latest British horror offerings to hit DVD. Starring Torchwood‘s Gareth David-Lloyd as sound technician/producer Ben and Siwan Morris as radio DJ Laurie, we spend the last night with their radio station as horrific events unfold on the other side of town. Flicking backwards and forwards between the radio station and single mum Kate’s storyline, we get to see how these two plotlines unfold and what they have in common. Things get even creepier when medium Carla pays the radio station a visit to do a reading on air and actually makes contact with the spirit realm. Could the tortured soul help identify the Wedlock Killer, a serial killer at large in the region who prays on women and takes the ring finger of their victim as a trophy?
DARK SIGNAL has a flicker of imagination but unfortunately the way in which it is delivered on screen is too mish-mashed to enjoy coherently. The tension is missing as the scenes flick back and forth to its various settings and plot threads, making it difficult to get into either of the two storylines. A weak script and poor character development doesn’t exactly help either, leaving the viewer cold and disinterested rather than engrossed in the horror unfolding and fearful for the characters’ lives.
Most of the performances are lucklastre too despite having a capable cast that includes The Scopia Effect‘s Joanna Ignaczewska and Braveheart‘s James Cosmo, the latter of whom is severely underused. The only real strong performance seen here is that by Siwan Morris who plays the straight-talking, sarcastic disc jockey who completely steals every scene she’s in. There’s simply not enough of her though I think it’s safe to say that she’s the one the viewer empathises with and cares about over all the other characters.
From both a supernatural angle and a slasher one, DARK SIGNAL fails to make an impact. The slasher element is rather tame despite its tongue snipping and knee breaking and the supernatural theme is pretty much ghostly jump scares and voices through the radio transmittor with a touch of possession thrown in for good measure. It all feels too cobbled together that none of it works as seperate ideas, nevermind as a whole.
Muddled and dull, DARK SIGNAL isn’t the terrifying horror it’s aching to be.