Set in 1999, the film follows James (Harry Shum Jr.), who works as a video archiver. If someone requires an important news clip from the 80s on DVD, James is the one who does the transfer. We also have a vague understanding that James is dealing with a dark past, including losing a loved one.
One day while working, James discovers a video cassette that contains a moment of disturbing footage. As James begins to do more research on the newly found footage, he soon learns that in the past, someone was able to hack the television airways and force home viewers to watch whatever the hacker desired. But by using the latest technology and James’ skills, he soon finds a major clue as to how the first Broadcast Signal Intrusion occurred. Now, James begins a determined investigation to uncover the truth to these ‘unsolvable’ crimes.
As I was going into this film, I was quite surprised to find Broadcast Signal Intrusion is best classed as a solid thriller. Based on the film’s marketing, I assumed this was a horror film. For the most part, the film feels like a detective story, and thanks to an exciting, retro-style musical score, it has a neo-noir vibe. Granted, there are a couple of moments that might seem unsettling and creepy for some viewers, but the film focuses on mysteries set up early in the film. These mysteries include James’ past and his reasoning for solving an old disturbing mystery.
Pacing here is fun, and there is always a clue being discovered for James to investigate. These clues are interesting and will keep the viewers guessing and wanting to know all the answers. Another likeable concept is the various characters that James meets along the way. These characters are also highly mysterious.
While the film tells an exciting tale filled with thrills and unexpected moments, the transitions between scenes feel abrupt at times and lack a natural flow. Dialogue, like the editing, can also feel slightly off. However, my biggest downer from this feature is the number of unanswered questions, including in the film’s final moments. I have heard other reviewers comparing the style to films directed by David Lynch. Given the outcomes, I would have to agree. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt highly satisfied with the experience of this film, and the core plot makes many reveals that are pleasing, but sadly, not everything is explained or will make sense, which could disappoint some viewers.
Overall, I had a great time with this film. The film gets underway with a thrilling and creepy plot quickly, and I found myself hooked and eager to know the truth of all the mysteries. Pacing is also snappy as it feels like something is always happening on screen. The fun musical score brings this crime story to life with a neo-noir feel. However, while being an entertaining thriller, I feel a few issues could bother many, including the odd cuts between scenes and some lines of dialogue that feel poorly delivered. Ultimately the film’s lack of conclusion, especially during the final moments, will leave audiences either baffled or stumped. When it comes to the core plot, it’s brilliant, but not everything is spoon-fed, and this will keep viewers guessing and thinking upon their first watch. Broadcast Signal Intrusion (2021) is Available on Digital from March 30th.