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  • Writer's pictureMaxwell J.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion (CFF) Televises Quiet Terror

Title: Broadcast Signal Intrusion

First Wide Release: TBD

Director: Jacob Gentry

Writer: Phil Drinkwater, Tim Woodall

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Starring: Harry Shum Jr, Kelley Mack, Steve Pringle

Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here (Release Date TBD)

This film’s review was written after its screening in the Chattanooga Film Festival 2021.

A video archivist falls down a rabbit hole while parsing through conspiracy theories related to a series of pirate broadcasts throughout the 90s. Convinced that they are related to the disappearance of his wife, he makes it his mission to uncover the truth no matter the cost. As he uncovers more about the incidents, he finds himself getting tangled in a series of confusing encounters and dangerous situations. Are the people he meets along the way truly helping him or are they muddying the waters further? He’ll find out this and just how far he’ll go to get closure for his loss.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion delivers exceptionally well-crafted and devastating horror mystery that captivates as much as it unnerves.

An engaging mystery that spirals out of control until its ambiguous ending, Broadcast Signal Intrusion favors slow burn paranoia and dread over more shock and stab horror. The restraint that writers Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall show pays off in dividends. Nothing captured on film can be scarier than what your mind conjures up when your imagination runs wild. And Broadcast Signal Intrusion offers plenty to let your mind wander to dark and chilling conclusions. It’s a perfectly paced descent into terror.

Harry Shum Jr delivers a strong and compelling performance of a heartbroken, yet dedicated partner willing to risk it all to uncover the truth of his wife’s disappearance. As a character, James is a bit one note in ways, some of which are pointed out by others, but still enjoys a wide range of emotions and faults to still feel human. His tunnel vision propels his development as he finds himself more inclined to commit terrible acts to get what he wants. It’s terrifying and sad to see him lose himself, but it’s hard to look away. Kelly Mack’s Alice grounds him and serves as a nice complementary character, even if at times she comes off as very much like a manic pixie dream girl, to make the film more realistic.

It’s hard to critique this film because there is so much to love! The idea behind the broadcast intrusions themselves is fascinating. It’s like visiting a whole other world listening to characters explain origins and mythos which is a credit to the worldbuilding of the writers. Solid sound design, crisp cinematography, sooth editing, and perfect pacing pad the film’s technical accolades. The tapes themselves elicit such a dark and dangerous energy. Their intensity adds a lethal element to the story that otherwise might be lost in more basic neo-noirs.

My biggest issue with the film lies in how this mystery plays out. It unfurls a bit too easy for James in ways it likely didn’t for the people before him. The convenience really kills some of the horror behind the story. The biggest criticism I will defend, however, is its ending. Sure, more could have been explained in the ending, but the open-ended mystery fits well within the confines of the story. I hope that people reconsider how well it aligns with the tone and structure of the film.

The standout at the Chattanooga Film Festival, Broadcast Signal Intrusion is a heady murder mystery that delivers on its intriguing premise. Shum Jr delivers a fantastic lead performance that showcases his wide range and capability to handle meaty roles. Gentry’s confidence in his vision shows through in this unrelenting period piece that refuses to provide easy answers to its audience. Both scary and intellectually stimulating, the journey is certain to suck you in without prejudice. Above all, it feels like you are watching something you shouldn’t, which is such a rare quality in a horror film. I’m so excited for a wider audience to see this film and I am begging you to put it on your radar. This is your final warning! Tune in and find yourself ensnared in the conspiracy behind Broadcast Signal Intrusion.

Overall Score? 7.5/10

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