Have I mentioned that I really love the faux-doc style of found footage? I did, right
Sure I did.
I really love them. For me it is a better framing device because 1. we are used to the glut of ‘true crime’ documentaries that are out there and 2. it answers the WHO found the footage and WHY it’s being presented. One of the issues a lot of folks have, me included, is that found footage shouldn’t necessarily exist. When most of these films are watched you see something that wasn’t meant to be seen, captured by witnesses who usually don’t survive their encounter and the footage serves as the last testament of what they saw. Creepy makings for a film but when most of the films detail crimes or supernatural events it begs the question – how the heck did that footage get out to us, the public?
Not necessarily one that needs to be wrestled with but it can pull you out of the film and ruin the illusion the filmmakers are working to create.
With a movie like BLAIR WITCH PROJECT the team behind the scenes went to great lengths to create a world for this movie to exist in and reasons for why it was released.
One of the things I really like about LAST RADIO CALL is that they give you a reason for the film being seen. This is presented as a documentary made to find out what happened to an officer that disappeared while working his shift.
LAST RADIO CALL tells the story of a grieving widow desperate for answers as to what happened to her husband, an officer who was out on a call with his partner at an abandoned hospital when he disappeared. No one has any answers as to what happened to him and with no one willing to really look into things or give her any information so she decides to investigate the disappearance herself, with the help of a cameraman and camera. The woman begins to slowly unravel what happened to her husband and his partner at the hospital through interviews, by going over the radio call, by scouring footage from his body cam she has acquired, and slowly a picture is revealed that shows that what happened to him may been more shocking and horrifying than anyone can imagine. The trouble is that the wife is so broken that she is willing to do whatever it takes to find her husband, no matter how dangerous it may be.
The structure here is really interesting and is a great ‘in’ to the film. The movie begins on such a high note and is so engaging that it’s a shame that the rest of the film can’t live up to that start. The film begns with the footage from the officers as they enter the hospital and plays out much of what happened to them but stops short of any answers. The footage is so immediate and plays on that found footage energy that it may have been best to slowly dole it all out over the course of the whole film so that it would break things up more. As it is, this plays like a general doc with interviews, investigation, and revelations. The problem is that the wife doesn’t reach you so that there is little to her byt obsession and single-mindedness. The biggest problem the film has though is that it really feels like the filmmakers found a great location and then tried to make a movie around it. Great idea but unless the RIGHT movie is made, well, you get a mess.
Welcome to that mess.
The film set up is fantastic but the wheels start to go off the track when we learn that ‘the land around here is hexed’ and that gives a really thin reason as to what is going on in the area and it leans pretty lazing on the ‘old native American curses’ sort of answer that filled the 1980’s. We are given a whole lot of hooey about what is going on in the area, and that there is an ancient being stalking this area that is out for blood. It’s a scary idea, and there are moments involving this revelation that are creepy but it has NOTHING to do with that hospital, or the rest of the film. Heck, there’s a moment in the police footage where the husband finds a coffin that later disappears.
WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
That’s the thing, there are so many non-sequiturs in the film that don’t tie to anything else that it makes it hard to connect with the rest of the film. The movie isn’t poorly made at all, it just doesn’t have any real logic to what is happening. It’s scary things for the sake of scary things with an ending that feels forced and obvious. There were ways to go about this and it just doesn’t work that well as a whole. This is a film of moments that don’t connect with a great location that doesn’t fit the narrative. The heck of it too is that they even rip off some at the moments of the end of REC that are too obvious to just be inspired.
It’s a shame that such a great opening for a film had to be squandered with a movie that just didn’t work as a whole. There are scary moments, and some interesting ideas but truly, this is a movie based around a great location with a mediocre story to try to match it.
Forgettable in every way and only of interest to the hardcore FF folks.
2 out of 5
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