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An interesting twist on the survival thriller genre, “Radioflash” is a journey to a dystopian future where staying alive is the name of the game.

When the world as we know it crumbles away, and all technology, electricity and modern comforts are gone, what do we do? Could you survive?

I have considered this scenario before. If something happened that takes out the internet, electricity, transportation, water – basically everything we use every day is gone — what would happen? Society would fall apart, much like we see in shows like The Walking Dead, minus the walkers of course.

I taught emergency preparedness to my Girl Scouts (with zombies, to make it interesting), because there is now a whole generation that has never lived off the grid in any way. They need to be ready for anything.

In the film Radioflash, we follow one small family’s journey to try to survive.

It’s not the elements or the journey itself that is the problem, but rather the desperate people they meet along the way.

After an electro-magnetic pulse strikes America, knocking out all the power, Reese (Brighton Sharbino) and her father Chris (Dominic Monaghan) realize it’s not safe to be in the city. People are already fighting over food and water, and it is only going to get worse.

After reaching him on a short-wave radio, Reese and Chris head out to seek refuge with Grampa Frank (Will Patton), who luckily is a doomsday-prepper and has everything they need to survive. The problem is simply to get to him in his Pacific Northwest mountain retreat.

The beauty of the landscape is such a contrast to the actions of humans when they are in survival mode. Things get ugly quickly, with everyone they run into. And it is obvious it is every person for themselves.

When a car accident forces Reese to continue her journey to Grampa’s alone and on foot, we find out what she is made of. As a virtual reality competitor, she is good at problem solving, and this trait will serve her well.

Not truly a horror film, the horror is derived from the behavior of the folks that Reese meets along the way.

Writer/Director Ben McPherson had this to say:

“I wanted this film to be unpredictable and disorienting so that the viewer, like the protagonist, never knew what was around each corner. There is never a moment in the film, where we are certain about who we can trust.”

I’m sure when Reese was in her virtual reality competition, she never expected to be in a bag as a snack for a grizzly bear a few days later.

This is an outdoor action film to a certain extent; there is a lot of just plain surviving happening.

However, the characters Reese meets along the way drive the story.

I love the hillbilly household with the amazing Fionnula Flanagan as Maw, the matriarch of the family. You almost have to kind of like her, she is such a terrifically acted character, but do not trust her for a minute. Her abusive son Bill (Michael Filipowich) and grandson Quinn (Kyle Collin) are equally great, too. It’s also a powerful part of the film, to see how two young people from completely different worlds can help each other survive.

RADIOFLASH is a beautifully crafted film. The cinematography is gorgeous, the acting well-done, the tone and pacing keeping the film moving forward. As an apocalypse film, it really makes you consider life and death, the complexity of human nature, and the importance of family.

Radioflash will be out in select theaters and VOD from IFC Midnight on November 15th, 2019.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 4

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