STARRING: Patrick Murphy, Doug Pelton, Mike Anderton, Karen Russell

2004, 18 Minutes, Directed by: Jonathan Johnson & Preston Herrick

Description: Late-night radio talk show host Nigel Starr (Doug Pelton) is used to getting outlandish and bizarre phone calls. But a call from Stillman (Patrick Murphy), a frayed research scientist, proves to be the strangest one yet. Armed with only theories about an alien plot to take over the world, Stillman must fight to convince Nigel that his broadcast is the "kingpin to our very existence" - before it's too late . . .
Official website

In this 18 minute-long short film doing the film festival rounds in the States, a caller to a late-night talk radio station warns that not only do aliens know how to move from one alternate reality to the next, but that they are also about to invade ours.

Apparently an advertisement of the call show’s corporate sponsor will somehow trigger this impending apocalypse (confirming something we all had long suspected of corporate sponsorships by the way).

Is the caller a crank? Onto something? Or is this just a ruse to boost listener ratings?

Anyway, as you might have gathered Radio Mechanics – Apocalypse of the Dial isn’t an instructional video on radio equipment as the title might suggest, but instead plays like an Outer Limits or Twilight Zone segment.

"Quite impressive for this type of production . . ."

Now let’s be honest here: short films such as this, made by non-professionals (lead actor Patrick Murphy “works full-time for the U.S. Forest Service” according to the official web site), serve only as showpieces. They exist to illustrate to investors that the team involved knows where to point a camera and get them to invest in longer and more expensive projects.

I can say with confidence that the team behind Radio Mechanics does indeed know where to point the camera. Technically the film is quite impressive for this type of production: the special effects, sets, sound, music, camera work and editing are all top notch while no doubt done on a shoestring budget. The next time a Hollywood mega-budget production runs into problems, these will be the guys to call!

Unfortunately the story suffers from two major short-comings: the acting is wooden and the script is too talky (and not as clever as it would like to believe). However, I can tell any future investors here that with a good script and some professional actors I’m sure that the Radio Mechanics crew will one day deliver a potential Cube or Primer. Your money will be well spent on these promising film-makers. I’d love to see any of their future efforts. Give these folks some money here!

In the meantime you can support them by buying the short on DVD when it becomes available on their official web site.

(Now if they’re looking for scripts, I know that Nathan Shumate whose Cold Fusion Video Reviews host this site has a few scripts lying around. No, I don’t get paid any commission fees for this . . .)



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