The Second Signal Image

The Second Signal

By Alan Ng | October 4, 2023

It’s 1987, and a young woman returns home to confront a mystery that’s been nagging her for years in co-writer/director Tim McClelland’s horror short, The Second Signal. Video artist K. Weston (co-writer Joanna Tiwald) went MIA from her lucrative NYC job as a videographer only to return to her childhood home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The artist had been working on a project and noticed that the footage she just shot was interrupted by a “second signal.” An image of a chair from the attic appears, but there’s no camera in the attic. Haunted by it, the curious K decides to film in the attic and discovers a horrible secret.

“…the curious K decides to film in the attic and discovers a horrible secret.”

The Second Signal is a nice tight horror story that captures the look and feel of the 80s videotape; kudos to K’s shirt. McClelland masterfully builds tension in telling K’s story, starting with trying to figure out the mystery with her friend. McClelland and Tiwald’s script then dovetails into her obsession with finding out what’s happening.

Speaking of the 1980s, I was also fascinated by the throwback to a time when digital wasn’t a glimmer in anyone’s eye. It was all VHS and bulky cassettes. Here, the analog videotape and camera become the conduit to the spirit world. The revelation comes through a worn analog static footage, giving us a veiled glimpse into McClelland’s vision of his monster. The visual style lends itself to an artistic and horrifying ending and is wonderfully performed by Joanna Tiwald.

For more information about The Second Signal, visit the Snakes&Funerals YouTube channel.

The Second Signal (2023)

Directed: Tim McClelland

Written: Tim McClelland, Joanna Tiwald

Starring: Joanna Tiwald, Alejandro Montoya Marin, Pip Lustgarten, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Second Signal Image

"…lends itself to an artistic and horrifying ending..."

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