Film Review: ‘Radioflash’
It’s the end of the world and they know it in “Radioflash,” a neither-fish-nor-fowl tale of survival after a massive, seemingly permanent power failure. At first this seems a fairly straightforward…
eventually throws in more conventionally exploitative elements that push things toward the realms of thriller and quasi-horror, without actually embracing those genres.
) in a surreal escape-room nightmare. But it turns out this is just a virtual-reality game she’s playing at an arcade.
) are having dinner when the power goes out, shutting down everything, from electricity to phone service to the internet. It takes a while to realize that this is no temporary glitch but the dread electromagnetic pulse, or “radioflash,” event that some doomsayers have long warned about.
Those perils range from the credible to the stereotypical, reaching a climactic low point when Reese falls into the clutches of some inbred country crazies. Their decor taste is right out of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and their matriarch a campy Fionnula Flanagan, who’s come a very long way from “James Joyce’s Women.” That “Radioflash” only half-heartedly milks this stock horror setup doesn’t make it any less clichéd. If earlier the film suffered from uneven pacing and dull patches, it does not improve by going for hyperbolic action silliness in the home stretch.
Still, elements here keep hinting the movie will pull itself together toward some memorable or at least satisfying destination. It doesn’t, but the intermittently impressive scale, competent lead performances and general assembly polish dangle hope that the screenplay might be headed somewhere important. In the end, however, the only thing here that truly fulfills its mission is Schmidt’s widescreen lensing, which is handsome at all times but really makes the scenic rural Idaho locations (standing in for the Pacific Northwest) look spectacular.
: Director: Ben McPherson. Screenplay: McPherson, Matt Redhawk. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Austin Schmidt. Editor: Simon Van Gelder. Music: Ramin Kousha.Read more: Variety
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