‘Broadcast Signal Intrusion’ Movie Review: Atmospherically Eerie, but Mysteriously Hollow

Broadcast Signal Intrusion has a solid premise. However, writers Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall’s screenplay isn’t entirely realized. There are moments of true horror that will dig under your skin, but the story never fully capitalizes on such moments. Director Jacob Gentry does what he can to elevate the screenplay with a creepy atmosphere, but it isn’t enough to make up for a noir thriller that loses itself along the way.

‘Broadcast Signal Intrusion’ is full of twists and turns

'Broadcast Signal Intrusion' actor Henry Shum Jr. sitting next to a camera on a tripod
Henry Shum Jr. | Dark Sky Films

1999, Chicago. James (Harry Shum Jr.) is a video archivist at a television station. He happens to discover a tape that contains a mysterious broadcast signal intrusion with a disguised person that makes little sense. However, the FBI and the FCC have been unable to find out who’s behind the videos. James follows down a path of intrigue and obsession as he investigates a second broadcast intrusion that seems to be connected to something much darker and more sinister.

James is convinced that there’s a greater conspiracy at work. He investigates every lead that he can find, which includes the government and a possible link to a group of missing women. James becomes increasingly paranoid, unable to trust anybody around him.

‘Broadcast Signal Intrusion’ gets lost in its own mystery

'Broadcast Signal Intrusion' actor Henry Shum Jr. at payphone outside
Henry Shum Jr. | Dark Sky Films

Broadcast Signal Intrusion prioritizes its mystery components. James is constantly investigating the tapes and begins speaking with a couple of different people to get to the bottom of this mystery. The plot certainly draws inspiration from film noir, but with a slight 1990’s flair.

The protagonist gets increasingly more paranoid as the mystery continues to unfold. James’ perspective is at the heart of the story. Broadcast Signal Intrusion has two mysteries to uncover: the secrets behind the broadcast signal intrusions and the women’s disappearances. However, the movie has a difficult time creating a balance between the two that doesn’t really come together successfully.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion‘s horror component is much more minor. Similar to Sinister, the most haunting moments come in the form of prerecorded content. The broadcast signal intrusions are rather haunting, some of which have rather disturbing imagery. It’s pure nightmare fuel that makes the initial mystery all the more haunting.

The horror works better than the mystery

'Broadcast Signal Intrusion' actor Henry Shum Jr. with headphones on the poster
Henry Shum Jr. | Dark Sky Films

Broadcast Signal Intrusion is at its best when it embraces its darker tendencies. The tapes are incredibly creepy and some dream sequences also offer moments of uneasiness. Gentry’s direction successfully establishes an eerie atmosphere. However, these moments are glossed over.

However, Broadcast Signal Intrusion always returns to the root of its mysteries. Unfortunately, the twists and turns don’t all work. It goes to some ambiguous places that don’t fit. This isn’t the type of mystery that will inspire a deep dive into what it all means. Shum Jr. does what he can with the part, but the character is fairly flat. There isn’t much to latch onto when it comes to any of the characters.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion uses its characters until their specific narrative purpose is served. It has no problem abandoning those characters to add a greater sense of mystery. However, the all too familiar twists and turns paired with an empty protagonist lead to a fairly mild thriller. The movie creates an effective atmosphere, but it gets a bit too lost in its own mysteries.

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