‘The Signal’ Trailer: Brenton Thwaites Has Been Chosen

Published 1 year ago by

Your initial response to the first trailer for The Signal may be confusion; for all of the footage on display, and the copious amount of Laurence Fishburne dialogue, there’s remarkably little in the clip that lets us connect the dots on the film’s plot. After just a couple minutes’ worth of material, we’re still just as in the dark and hopelessly discombobulated as the film’s hero, Nick Easton (The Giver‘s Brenton Thwaites), caught in between cryptic voice over inquiries and destructive imagery that calls movies like Akira to mind.

So, in other words, the tease is a great success, because in all likelihood, director William Eubank isn’t cutting previews so that he can answer all of your questions about The Signal in advance of its release. The sign of a good trailer, after all, lies in its ability to pique the interest of its potential audience; for fans of mind-bending science fiction/horror hybrids, the above promo should do just that effortlessly.

Let’s start with the basics and clear up one potential conflation here: no, Eubank’s film isn’t a follow-up to 2008’s low-budget horror gem The Signal (at least not as far as we can tell based on first impressions). Instead, it’s a story about college students (led by Thwaites, as well as No One Lives‘ Beau Knapp and Bates Motel‘s Olivia Cooke) whose passion for hacking takes them on a jaunt into the Nevada desert to find a fellow hacker named Nomad. The encounter leaves them terrified and ultimately unconscious; when they wake up, they’re in captivity, with no idea what happened to them or why they’re being detained at all.

That still leaves a huge amount of narrative unaccounted for, though imaginative audiences may start to fill in the blanks on their own and speculate as to The Signal‘s true nature just based on the relentless weirdness seen in the trailer. One thing’s for certain: whatever “the signal” actually is, and whatever has happened to Nick and his friends, he certainly looks agitated by the time this elusive bit of marketing ends.

The Signal Fishburne The Signal Trailer: Brenton Thwaites Has Been ChosenEubank, a career cinematographer and director of photography, waded into the waters of directing his own features back in 2011 with Love, a space drama movie (and a distant cousin to classics like 2011: A Space Odyssey, Solaris, and Moon) that’s elliptical in its own ways; The Signal appears to build off of his penchant for mystery, while echoing the fluid look and feel of trippy, cerebral arthouse films like last year’s Upstream Color.

And if the new trailer isn’t enough, take another gander at this pixelated poster featuring Fishburne’s masked mug:

The Signal Poster 691x1024 The Signal Trailer: Brenton Thwaites Has Been Chosen

Combine the visual identity of The Signal with all of the cool, near-apocalyptic stuff seen in the trailer, and you’ve got a movie that’s well worth getting excited about. Whether Nick really is an alien, or something more after his run-in with Nomad, is something that remains to be seen when the film opens this summer, but you should keep your ears peeled for The Signal until then.


The Signal opens in US theaters on June 13th, 2014.

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
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  1. This. Looks. BRILLIANT.

  2. I’m a little agitated by the vagueness of the trailer, but interested nonetheless…

  3. Looks interesting I will check it out

  4. I get an Akira feeling from this. I’m definitely checking it out!

  5. The plot rang through for me in the trailer, which was great by the way… I took it to be something like, Nick Easton hears something and begins acting strangely but he is not the only one, or the first. He is taken in to custody after it becomes clear the others who heard “something?” are changing. This change ends up being revealed as the source of the signal beaming itself into hosts to gestate and transform them into something which can communicate what the source of the signal wants which is to colonise the planet…. I’m just joining the dots between all the sci-fi tropes which are nicely played out in the trailer, I could be wrong but who knows at the moment?

    • Thats pretty good

  6. I really liked this trailer. Got me interested without showing me the entire story like a lot of other trailers today.
    On the other hand, some of the scenes look like they came straight out of a Levi’s commercial.
    Ill still see it for sure.

  7. Anybody, but me realized that some of the context was taken from Akira. So… i guess it was bound to happen one way or another. His character look and acts like Tetsuo Shima.
    I think they decided to Americanize a live action version similar to the movie Akira.