‘Radioflash’ (2019) Review: A Slow And Unfocused Apocalyptic Drama

Apocalyptic films have always been hit or miss with me. In order to appreciate the genre, one has to be able to see the beauty in desolation and rubble. As a self-proclaimed optimist, I often struggle with dystopian films that present bleak settings and themes. Radioflash is a film of this nature, from newcomer writer/director Ben McPherson.

Radioflash

The film tells the story of a young, tech-savvy girl named Reese (Brighton Sharbino; The Walking Dead TV Series) and her widowed father Chris (Dominic Monaghan; The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001) as they deal with the fallout of a catastrophic blackout attack that completely shuts down the Western Coast of the United States. Following the blackout, Reese manages to get in touch with her grandfather Frank (Will Patton; Armageddon 1998), who urges them to gather all available resources and flee into the mountains as soon as possible. Frank is a classic doomsday survivalist who has been preparing himself for this exact sort of eventuality.

From here, the film follows the pattern of other end-of-the-world dramatic thrillers such as The Road or The Mist. Society runs amok in the face of doom, and violent looters raid the cities and towns, desperate to survive. These rabid types have of course made their way up into the mountains as well, and we’re later introduced to a family straight out of The Hills Have Eyes, ruled by a deranged woman we come to know as Ma. The film plays into the horror elements mostly in the later portion of the film, conjuring up images of warped, savage survivors and about as much doom and gloom as one can handle. While Patton’s performance as the honest and calculated Frank is a highlight, the rest of the film feels uneven and unfocused. The cinematography is visually pleasing, and the backdrops are grand, but the story and characters feel underdeveloped and half-baked.

The film’s most interesting elements are the genre tropes, which are severely misused and forgotten overall. Radioflash has some fleeting entertaining moments but ultimately feels like a small drama that wants to be taken too seriously. I found myself waiting for more horror elements to come into play, and continuously was let down. While there are plenty of worse films than Radioflash floating around out there in our world, I can’t honestly recommend you go through the trouble of hunting this one down.

Radioflash opened in select theaters and VOD on November 15th!

About Connor Strader

My name is Connor and I'm a writer, filmmaker, and avid horror fan. I first saw John Carpenter's Halloween at a very early (probably too early) age, and that sent me down the path of consuming as much horror media as I possibly could. In my own film work I mostly write and direct in the horror genre, but I also love comedy and fantasy as well. I'm a big gamer, and survival horror video games are my personal favorites to play. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for reading!

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