‘Broadcast Signal Intrusion’ Review: An Ambitious Thriller Whose Creepy Reach Exceeds Its Grasp [SXSW 2021]
Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 by Matt Donato
Jacob Gentry‘s evolution as a filmmaker remains fixated on electromagnetic waves (outside MTV’s My Super Psycho Sweet 16 franchise) in the SXSW premiere Broadcast Signal Intrusion. It’s a clash of science fiction imagery and novice sleuthing, as Possessor-reminiscent masked interruptions splice between ’90s television programming until narrative beats transform into something more tensely true crime. At the core of Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall‘s screenplay? A ponderous assessment of media corruption and fame-chasing criminals. However, their means of subgenre hybridization sometimes fails the overall intrigue of a widower’s grief-sullen inquisition. There are camcorder moments that unsettle, almost as The Poughkeepsie Tapes accomplishes with its evidence footage, and yet clue-seeking thrills sell desired excitement short.
As Gentry pushes audiences into the unknown of FCC regulations and “narrowcasting” rebels who hijack affiliate airtime, that “unknown” stays a bit too far out of reach once narrative motivations clarify through tracking fuzz.