Shaky handheld camcorder footage opens proceedings, interspersed with choppy editing which allows for white text upon a black screen solemnly promising that the footage we’re about to witness comes from a classified FBI file.

Thankfully, we’re then taken out of the "found footage" style as we’re introduced to Devan (Devan Liljedahl), a demure young brunette mourning her brother Logan’s death.

It transpires Logan was one of 42 people who died in a house in California. The government have cited over-exposure to radiation as the cause of the deaths, blaming the discovery of a uranium mine nearby. Much to the grief of the deceased’s families, the bodies have been confiscated in the meantime.

Devan finds solace in old pal Nate (Nathan Dean Snyder), who agrees to travel from Illinois to California with her in the hope of uncovering a conspiracy. This, of course, necessitates the recording of their investigations: enter Nate’s wisecracking friend Brandon (Brandon Cano-Errecart) with his trusted camcorder.

When the group arrive in California, none of them are remotely surprised to find the house standing derelict: there are no officials guarding it, no ‘contamination area’ banners blocking entry. So, the kids are free to break in and start filming in search of answers.

Cue internal rows, dark shaky scenes where characters think they saw something spooky, low battery warnings and so on …

Cano-Errecart directs, as well as co-writing beside Snyder. So, they only have themselves to blame for the fact that their characters – and the rest, for that matter – are neither likeable nor interesting. Coupled with a hackneyed approach to a long-since saturated sub-genre and a script of oft-times eyebrow-raising silliness, the end result is a film that bores from its clichéd opening scenes onwards.

Admittedly, Liljedahl fares better in eliciting audience empathy. Slightly. And the running time of 77 minutes is agreeable, even if it doesn’t really prevent the film from dragging. But the conspiracy element is enough – just – to keep viewers watching in the hope of a big reveal. By the time it comes, however, you’ll have either guessed it or be snoring.

Really, you’ve seen it all hundreds of times before. THE SIGIL brings nothing new or diverting to an extremely tired format. In fact, it cribs conventions from every other "found footage" film of recent years and doesn’t do a very good job at that.

The disc specifications for THE SIGIL are much like the release of THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH. Both are Metrodome titles.

THE SIGIL is presented uncut in a complimentary 16x9 presentation. Though films of this particular sub-genre are always a bastard to review in terms of picture quality, THE SIGIL has enough linking narrative scenes to demonstrate a well-contrasted, boldly colourful and pin-sharp transfer which can’t fail to meet its needs. The video-shot footage is, of course, washed-out and grainy – as it’s intended to be by the filmmakers.

English 2.0 audio offers a steady, reliable playback.

The disc’s static main menu page gives way to a static scene-selection menu allowing access to the film via 12 chapters.

As with TESTAMENT, the only things remotely resembling extras here are trailers for LOVELY MOLLY and the MANIAC remake. The disc is defaulted to open with these.

A short review, then. But with a film this dull and a disc this basic, it really was a stretch to write this far.

THE SIGIL is yet further evidence that the "found footage" horror sub-genre really has had its day. The only virtuous thing about the film, honestly, is its relatively short running time.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Metrodome
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review