The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio is an anthology film with horror shorts, all produced separately, strung together to make a final product. Nightmare Radio manages to do this, albeit not entirely successfully, by having a radio DJ tell these stories one after another on air. The film, I feel, was incredibly minimized by the DJ storyline and would have served better to do either a style of a clear narrator telling stories or just make the film a solid hour and run it as a series of short stories. The short stories themselves are passable, some better than others, but with this DJ storyline, they feel less serious and crucially less scary.
The direction for this film was already rocky when I found out that the short films were all made separately and the story was written later. This can be done sometimes successfully, however, this is not one of those miraculous times. The added storyline of the DJ didn’t come off as clear to me. Sometimes he was very humorous, other times very serious. I couldn’t figure out how the DJ served these short stories in any positive way.
Plot is already loose when dealing with anthology style stories. However, with the addition of a guiding plot through the DJ, I was incredibly unimpressed. It was uninspired. They wanted a storyline and didn’t put any work into making it possible, they just simply wrote what they wanted. It made his storyline unbelievable, not scary, and wildly disproportionate to the majority of the short stories that aired at the beginning of the film. I did want to note one short that went well above the rest, involving a prisoner - that was brilliant writing and I want to look more into the people behind that particular short film. Very Black Mirror-esque.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The main plot with the DJ alone would have received a spilled rating. He was unclear, and while the dialogue can be to thank for that, he wasn’t doing the role any favours. I couldn’t tell if he was meant to be a funny addition or an awkward navigator, but next to shorts about pedophillia and death it doesn’t feel funny. The shorts however did have some pretty great performances including the aforementioned prisoner short, and one about a hairdresser, raising the spilled rating up to a half.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
'The Public' Has A Lot To Offer...
Since this film is working with previously created films, we are dealing with many different budgets on special effects. Some are amazing and really made me wonder how they pulled them off. A majority of the shorts’ effects were effective due to being restrained, with nothing over the top or overly awe-inspiring.
A Night Of Horror: Nightmare Radio (2020) | VOD
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Nothing worth noting. Even within the shorts, I found the sound design to be underwhelming. The only one worth mentioning would be the Spanish short, right when the main character picks up the flowers and has a memory we can only hear. That was great. Really the only thing I made note of while watching the film.
A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio would have been a lot better if just told by a straight up narrator or cutting out the middleman and showcasing short after short. The DJ storyline brought everything else down around it. It muddled the film and confused me about what exactly they were trying to strike. His moments were uneven and didn’t all add up. It felt more for shock value than to write something to help the shorts - which I would have preferred. However, even with its serious downfalls, the short featuring the prisoner is one to seek out with its incredible storytelling.