Saturday, February 24, 2018

Radius Review - A Compelling Sci-fi Indie

I'm back! Have not been posting a lot because I was being a whiny sick person for the past couple of weeks. On the plus side I did discover how much fun binge watching Netflix can be while slightly high on cold medicine and the occasional hot toddy. On that journey, I discovered the recently released movie Radius on Netflix and it's premise alone is so compelling that I must tell you about it.

Radius starts much like a classic Twilight Zone episode with a supposed everyman suddenly cast as the grim reaper. Liam (Diego Klattenhoff) wakes up from a car accident with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. He makes his way along the highway to the nearest town and begins encountering dead bodies. When he finally discovers living people who could help him, he realizes to his horror that he is causing the deaths. With some very grim and unintended experimenting, he figures out that any living creature coming within 50 feet of him instantly drops dead. Eventually through some standard plot devices, Liam meets Jane (Charlotte Sullivan) who has no memories either and seems able to negate Liam's death zone entirely. What follows is a chase type of story with them trying to find some answers, avoid law enforcement and keep the body count to a minimum.

Radius most definitely has a low budget feel that limits the scope of the story but nothing so much that will make you cringe. Klattenhoff (from NBC's hit The Blacklist) and Sullivan (who I mostly recognize from NBC's Chicago Fire) are steadfast and reliable in their roles which is important since they carry most of the story. Sounds mediocre so far, doesn't it? I'm happy to say that is not the case. I am a stickler for movies that follow the "rules". If you're going to pull some Sixth Sense stunts and tell me that the color red means a ghost is around, then you had better do it consistently. If not, I will demand the movie be paused and explain to everyone how a movie is breaking the "rules". It's an annoying habit but fortunately my movie watching companions are mostly forgiving. I bring this up to let you know that Radius follows the "rules" and manages to have moments of realistic dread and suspense. You'll be impressed with the situations that threaten to pull Liam and Jane at least 50 feet apart and put unwitting people around them in jeopardy. I'll not spoil even a bit of the ending except to say that it is both frustrating and satisfying. Radius gets a well deserved B. You know in some more well monied hands, the result would've been much grander but Radius does well with what it was working with.