This article was last modified on November 8, 2017.


Review: Horror-SciFi-Mystery “Radius” (2017)

Liam (Diego Klattenhoff, star of TV’s “The Blacklist”) wakes from a car crash with no memory of who he is. As he makes his way into town to look for help, he finds only dead bodies, all with strange pale eyes. Liam’s first assessment is that a virus is present in the air, but he soon discovers the horrible truth.

This film was born with Fantasia’s Frontières Market serving as midwife way back in 2012. Other great films in recent years that came out of this process are “Turbo Kid”, “The Void” and “Raw”, so the track record is rather strong. (The late George Romero’s “Road of the Dead” most recently went through the market and may arrive in 2018.) A few producers were attached and dropped out along the way (hence the multi-year genesis), but ultimately everything worked out.

At first, I thought that perhaps the creators give too much away in their plot description (which I have shortened) and title, but this turns out not to be the case. While the viewer will be more rewarded the less they know going in, the cause of death is only the first in a series of surprises and twists. A far more interesting one awaits.

It cannot be overstated how absolutely wonderful this original concept is. Allegedly, it was inspired in part by the style and format of “Oldboy” (which is not at all obvious) mixed with the plot of an old Superman comic. There are mild horror elements, mixed in with an overall science fiction or supernatural premise. When we find out about the memory of the Santa beard, a mystery element is added. And still further the constant police chase adds an action element, making this a hard film to categorize (other than it is not much of a western or romance!).

The production value is clearly high, and the cinematography from Simon Villeneuve is rich and gorgeous. Charlotte Sullivan’s acting seems a little too rehearsed, a little tense and unrealistic. This is a shame, really, because according to her, she approached the role as though she were Kim Novak in “Vertigo” or some other Hitchcock tale, which seems like a strong mindset to use. Diego Klattenhoff hits it out of the park, however. While his character’s history and motives are constantly under question, Klattenhoff plays Liam with such warmth that we cannot help but side with him as he goes through this ordeal.

While it is hard to review this film without giving away too much, it really is a must-see. An official selection of FrightFest, Fantastic Fest, and Fantasia Film Festival, everyone else gets to finally see it available on VOD on November 10, 2017. Courtesy of Epic Pictures, the fine folks who gave us “Turbo Kid” and “Tales of Halloween”.

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