If you thought films about group chats like Skype or Zoom are boring because nothing happens until it’s almost over, wait until you get a slice of Dead Air.
A man who has recently lost his wife but is more bothered about his unresolved issues from his childhood decides to play around with a radio he found while cleaning the basement. After setting it up and ignoring his girls for most of the film because they’re doing homework in almost every scene they appear in, he starts a conversation with a strange woman he comes to think is just old but, for the sake of a plot twist, we find out she’s from a different time. Will they ever realize who they’re talking to? It depends of the frequency they stay in.
Dead Air can be summed up in one of the character’s lines: “nothing interesting ever happens” and nothing does for 60 minutes— the last act tries to make up for its lack of entertainment but it might be too late as the viewer could’ve turned off the screen before reaching it. If you’ve seen the 2000 film Frequency, you can pretty much compare the storylines with the exception that this mainstream film has more substance than the other. It’s a nice attempt to bring something different to the thriller category but it feels empty as most of the film is two characters talking over the radio without a clue they have more in common then they think.
There’s a lot of build-up when it comes to revealing something the film’s crew think is impressive but, as a viewer, I could only pretend shock as every twist is seen coming from blocks away. I have to give credit to the actors hosting this podcast-turned-to-film, Kevin Hicks (also the director) and Vickie Hicks (also the writer) sure carry the whole film with their chats over radio but, considering they’re the ones interpreting their own vision, it makes me wonder if it was the right choice to fit themselves into the characters.
Dead Air, as the title suggests, is simply dead air. With a thin plot that leads nowhere and characters that have no motive at all, not even a glimpse of intention, this film might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re into long introductions with supernatural elements that barely happen 60 minutes later, then get your biscuits and enjoy.
3 OUT OF 10 WAVES