Fantasia ’21 Review – Broadcast Signal Intrusion

Broadcast Signal Intrusion is the first feature to emerge from the ‘New Blood’ program at the UK’s Frightfest festival, and it’ll be playing there at the end of August. But first it comes to Canada’s Fantasia Film Fest. It’s written by newcomers Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall, and directed by Jacob Gentry (probably best known for 2007’s The Signal, making this his second foray into what you might call Signal Horror.)

The plot follows James (fan favourite Harry Shum Jr., Crazy Rich Asians, Step Up 2 The Streets), who works a job digitising archive tapes of TV broadcasts while being haunted by memories of his missing girlfriend. Things take a turn for the weird when he finds a mysterious pirate video signal in the old footage. Do the eerie images give a clue as to the fate of his lost love?

Broadcast Signal Intrusion would make a fun pairing with this year’s Censor: both involve people who watch films/tapes for a living getting drawn into a psychotic mystery around a missing girl when they glimpse something in the footage that resembles a past trauma and recurring nightmare.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion is the more abrasive and elliptical of the pair, refusing to give up its secrets without a fight. This is a wonderfully unsettling tale of paranoia and delusion that takes the viewer down a rabbit hole of dread. Recommended!

Broadcast Signal Intrusion is playing at Fantasia on demand.

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