The spirit of a woman murdered by a serial killer whose calling card is to remove the ring finger from his victims reaches out over the radio waves for help. But who is anyone listening? Kate, played by Polish actress Joanna Ignaczewska, a down-on-her-luck single mother is haunted by her ghost. Meanwhile technician Ben (Gareth David-Lloyd) and host Laurie (Siwan Morris), put out their final broadcast on JAB Radio as their guest psychic medium Carla, played by Cinzia Monreale, makes contact with the woman’s spirit.
You’re walking an uneasy tightrope when it comes to balancing serial killers and the supernatural, but it can be done. The Pact (2012), for example, succeeds admirably and even manages to maintain a hair-raisingly creepy atmosphere.
The movie is shot very well. In one scene, using light and dark to create the perfect sense of isolation as our leading lady waits alone in the car on and empty dirt road for her boyfriend to return. The sound team do a great job with the eerie creaking of car boots and bedroom closet doors, setting one on seat’s edge. One jump scare is achieved. Only a mild one, though. Tension could have been achieved during the psychic’s conversation with the spirit, but the look on Siwan’s face is just too funny for them to pull it off.
Dark Signal makes some curious choices, such as our leading lady’s decision to pimp out her tyre iron Sorority Row style, complete with a hand radio and glow sticks like she’s a Ghostbuster or something. Melissa McCarthy move over! The spiritual possession of her wheelchair-bound son was most certainly a step too far, taking things from watchable to just plain stupid.
Regardless of the supernatural, Dark Signal poses a tougher question. The best twist is the one that you never saw coming. You could even call it a ‘game-changer’. But is that one big twist enough to validate an entire film when everything leading up to that point was pretty much a mixed bag? For me, one of the tests of a good movie is: do I want to see it again? So, in that case, is it worth taking that same mediocre journey with a twist I already know about? Nope. Not really.