‘Broadcast Signal Intrusion’ TV terror, throwback mystery

Noah Levine

Finding the remote won’t save you now

Inspired by the real-life (and unsolved) broadcast interruptions that struck Chicago in the late 1980s, horror film “Broadcast Signal Intrusion” follows a video archivist that is determined to solve the harrowing mystery of a set of TV signal interruptions featuring a disturbing animatronic. As the archivist begins to unravel the clues left behind, he falls deep into a rabbit hole of obsession, horror and potentially murder. 

James, the video archivist, leads the narrative of the film. His obsession with the broadcast mystery is used as a way to distract himself from the grief of his wife. The character is determined, spending day in and day out rewatching the strange set of tapes. Harry Shum Jr. plays the curious, determined character quite well. His perseverance is believable, and he handles the character’s descent into obsession effectively. 

The atmosphere of the film is absolutely superb. Complete with a spooktacular score that would fit right at home in a “Twilight Zone” episode, “Broadcast Signal Intrusion” truly feels like a throwback horror mystery. The retro, VHS-style broadcast intrusions are absolutely terrifying, featuring a robotic mannequin woman dripping black liquid out of her mouth. The sound design combined with the bizarre editing style truly feels authentically creepy. James’ obsession begins to bleed into his dreams, allowing the filmmaker to direct several nightmarish sequences where the contents of the tape invade reality. These moments are well-used and wonderfully scary. 

The mystery itself is quite the intriguing ride, with new clues and suspicious characters being introduced along the way. The audience experiences things as James does, allowing a great sense of engagement and immersion. The twists and turns will keep viewers guessing, despite the resolution feeling a bit simple and out of left field. The finale is still quite satisfying and appropriately terrifying as well. 

In terms of faults, “Broadcast Signal Intrusion” spends a frustrating amount of time on the character of Alice, a woman who has been following James throughout his journey. Her entrance is strange, simply revealing that she follows people for fun as it gives her a sense of control. She then joins James’ journey, tagging along for a few crucial plot developments before dipping out. This time could’ve been spent continuing to solely focus on James’ motivations and experience as opposed to trying to explore another character. 

“Broadcast Signal Intrusion” is exceptionally chilling and effective, despite its unnecessary side character and slightly overlong runtime. 

4 Puking Robots out of 5