Directed by: #DanielHammersley
Written by: Daniel Hammersley
War of the Worlds goes rural in this short comedy thriller from #filmmaker Daniel Hammersley. Radio, starring Simon Wright and Angus Barnett, is a playful yet thrilling piece that celebrates friendship and heroism no matter the age.
John (Simon Wright) is celebrating his birthday in isolation. With only a greeting card from a website, he decides to take his friend Jim (Angus Barnett) up on his offer to sit in on his local radio show. However, all is not normal when news comes in about bizarre virus spreading that affects people or even kills them. Putting the logistical skills he gained in the army to good use, John helps to arrange safety for everyone whilst finding his own purpose again.
Smartly filmed and full of #filmmaking prowess, Hammersley shows himself to be a capable director, offering audiences a plethora of genre moments without causing nausea. The #comedy is well balanced with peril, and the chemistry between the two friends glues the whole piece together. There is a jovial atmosphere complemented by the country accents and village life that makes Radio an incredibly endearing #shortfilm. Hammersley plays with this isolation and simplicity well in order to juxtapose it with a sharper pace which gets increasingly compelling as the narrative develops.
Rather than a simple disaster or outbreak plot with running, jumping, and dying, the movie adds thematic depth in the form of John's harrowing background in Afghanistan. His on air revelation about feeling numb during his service hints at a #PTSD that provides a stronger foundation for the events to unfold. Mix into this his obvious loneliness and isolation, the film suddenly becomes a larger outcry about the shameful waste of talent when it comes to elderly people and the need for community for those who are on their own. The idea of being outdated smartly applying to people and radio here.
Music and sound are used expertly to vamp up the tension, and a few nice aesthetic choices make the piece visually engaging (such as a cool pipe smoking session), and the whole movie has a high end feel to the production. Locations are also used well, such as a corner shop which has a spooky vibe when empty, or the vacant woods in the final third.
Touching and genuinely thrilling, Radio from director Daniel Hammersley is as poignant as it is charming. It is the expert care and balance that makes it an enduring piece of cinema and allows it to ride the same frequency as other great outbreak movies such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, just with a more mature cast.