It’s 1999. James (Harry Shum Jr.) is a video archivist, working the late-night shift in a Chicago basement where he is currently logging old TV shows. He lives alone, following the disappearance of his wife Hannah three years ago, and regularly attends a support group for people whose loved ones are missing.
While at work one night, James is processing a news show from 1987 when it is interrupted by a mysterious figure wearing a strange mask and wig and making unintelligible sounds. Weirder still, the mask resembles one that James has seen recently during his dreams about Hannah and James immediately feels compelled to investigate further. It turns out that this “broadcast intrusion” was one of two that were investigated by the FCC and FBI but never resolved and have since become the topic of much discussion and theorising online. After locating and viewing a second and even more disturbing intrusion, James learns that there may even have been a third, and when he realises that they may all be linked to the disappearance of several women, he becomes obsessed with uncovering the dark conspiracy behind it all.
His investigation leads him to the media studies professor originally responsible for investigating the intrusions, who warns James of “falling down a rabbit hole you can’t climb out of”. It transpires that many others like James have come and gone before, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. Cue mysterious figures, watching James from across the street, only to disappear as a van goes past them, and a seemingly crazy man who warns James to be careful of what he’s getting himself into for fear of turning out like him. Using his audiovisual skills, James is able to make out sounds and imagery within the footage, which only sends him deeper into that rabbit hole. When he teams up with a girl named Alice (Kelley Mack) it allows James to uncover even more clues, sending them both into even more potentially dangerous situations.
For the first half, Broadcast Signal Intrusion really sets up the suspense and drama, with James and Alice seemingly onto something that even the FBI and FCC couldn’t crack. But by the second half, it quickly becomes clear that it was all just smoke and mirrors, with a script that’s just not strong enough to deliver any kind of resolution, hellbent on trying to set up even more red herrings instead. Far too many threads remain either pointless or unresolved – hell, even one of the main characters disappears from the movie towards the end, without any kind of explanation. And then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out and ends. It’s disappointing and frustrating, especially following such an interesting setup. Ultimately though, the whole thing proved to be instantly forgettable.
Broadcast Signal Intrusion will be in UK Cinemas from 25th March and available on Digital Download & Blu-ray from 28th March
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.