Hello from the other side.

A crazed, serial-killer on the loose, ghostly apparitions creeping out from dark crevices and hauntings both in the physical and ethereal, airwave-based realm; welcome to Dark Signal co-written and directed by Edward Evers-Swindel, making his feature directorial debut.

Opening in the picturesque North Wales - where director Edward Evers-Swindel also subsequently resides - with a myriad of beautiful aerial shots imbuing within you the remote and disparate feeling any good horror should strive to accomplish for an audience.

Among this idyllic landscape lives a certain girl (Sarah played by Eleanor Gecks) who is about to be grotesquely murdered - as all good looking people within horror movies should be - by the notorious ‘Wedlock’ killer, named as such due to dismembering their victims ring finger, presumably to make a necklace for their Etsy page.

Elsewhere upon this lonesome region is a local radio station delivering their last night on air before being shut down - which is to be expected given their peak listeners probably consist of four farm wives and three sheep.

Heading up this swan-song of a broadcast is the feisty and perpetually guarded Laurie Wolf (Siwan Morris), aided in concert by her chipper, radio tech-geek Ben (Gareth David-Lloyd) who is subsequently chatting up - via video chat - a local strapped for cash, single mother named Kate (Joanna Ignaczewska) - Dark Signal's resident scream queen. The trio are about to be flung onto a horror-fuelled night of screams, scares and a bit of blood splatter thrown in for good measure.

It’s clear to see director Edward Evers-Swindel’s love for the horror genre bubbling from beneath the surface of Dark Signal, capped off with an enjoyable twist that viewers will likely never see coming, and best of all giving you a reason to rewatch Dark Signal once again - to spot the subtle clues spread throughout its hour and a half runtime. Likewise the duo performances of Siwan Morris - playing radio host Laurie and - her partner in crime Ben - played by Gareth David-Lloyd of Torchwood fame - bring some much needed levity in what is otherwise a tension-filled, multifaceted movie, and it’s easy to see the pair have worked together before with their characters banter rolling off the screen effortlessly.

Dark Signal - Ben (played by Gareth David-Lloyd)

Dark Signal is a film filled with so many facets of horror, so much in fact that it's hard to keep track of them all, feeling hamfisted into what is already a jam-packed film, which unfortunately detract from the more solid aspects of Dark Signal, its core story - that being a classic ‘whodunit’ - with important elements glossed over at a whim and not given the screen time needed to better flesh out the plots entire reasoning. It’s to be expected though, given the script was changed a mere three weeks from when shooting was set to begin - to facilitate the film's new climactic end - and that unhomogenized script has crept its way onto the screen with every element from the horror-handbook seemingly thrown on-screen to see what sticks. Writer and director Edward Evers-Swindel may have set out to make his first feature film, but I feel he has in fact made two, with his creations clashing upon the big screen.

The most important facet of any horror though, will be whether it manages to scare you, and whilst Dark Signal very much plants its feet within the ‘jumpscare’ aspect of the genre, there are a few moments of some excellent tension building that will get your heart thumping, with slow pans of ghostly happenings within confined spaces, and a particular scene that will give gore fans delight - though the squeamish might need to remember to bring a pillow, oh and a bucket just in case. Thrown in for good measure is a cameo appearance from James Cosmo in what has to be his creepiest performance to date.

Dark Signal is a rare Welsh-born horror that captures the essence of its location beautifully, giving you frights and a pick-n-mix bag of horror tropes thrown at the screen one after another - some working much better than others that can unfortunately detract from the overall experience.

Fans of the genre will definitely enjoy Dark Signal's twisted story along with the performances, though if jumpscares aren’t your thing you should probably sit this one out.

Dark Signal is currently available to buy on DVD via Amazon or on-demand via Amazon Video.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    26th June 2016

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Overloaded with horror tropes

    Disjointed at times

  • The end twist

    Performances

    Location

    Tension building scenes

Film Info

Dark Signal Dark Signal
Rating: 18
Release Date: 23rd May
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
Director: Edward Evers-Swindell
Starring: Joanna Ignaczewska, Gareth David-Lloyd, Siwan Morris, Eleanor Gecks, Duncan Pow & James Cosmo

  • The Fog
  • Halloween

No, it contains plenty of gore, scares and content unsuitable for children.

Shot in 4 weeks on roughly a £500,000 budget, with the majority of filming taking place at a farm with its barn converted into a radio station set.

The director is a big fan of Italian actress Cinzia Monreale and jumped at the chance to get her in his film where she plays a psychic named Carla.

Writer & director Ed Evers-Swindell has previously worked on horror flick The Descent, which also makes use of ambient lighting (from flares).