Written and directed by Isaac Rodriguez, Last Radio Call is a middle of the road found-footage horror based off Rodriguez’s 2016 horror short, Cop Cam. A short we reviewed and enjoyed because it was a short.
A 70+ minute film based around the titular cop from that short? That’s a much harder thing to enjoy. Especially as it falls into so many of the found-footage pitfalls.
Last Radio Call begins with the body camera footage of Officer David Serling (Jason Scarbrough) as he and his partner heard screams coming from an abandoned hospital. The pair go inside, things go extremely wrong and only David’s partner makes it out.
David just disappears and his partner can’t remember anything. So, what happened inside the hospital? That’s what his wife Sarah (Sarah Froelich) wants to know, and she has been doing some serious digging.
Convinced that something bad happened to her husband and that everyone is trying to cover it up, Sarah has hired a documentary crew to document her journey for answers. She believes that David is still alive and no amount of evidence that suggest otherwise will convince her that he is not. She is a grieving widow, who has gone down the conspiracy tunnel and has a drinking problem, but she needs closure.
Getting hold of the footage from that night doesn’t give her the answers she needs but it does lead her deeper down the rabbit hole. One involving indigenous folklore, shamanic beliefs, and sinister, supernatural horrors.
All of this should amount to something quite interesting, scary, and thought-provoking. Unfortunately, the calibre of the acting and found-footage tropes ends up letting this one down.
It gives us no pleasure to say that the most of this cast are really struggling here. Nobody does a convincing job and so much of the dialogue is ropey. A limited run-time means Sarah really needed oomph to her character but doesn’t get it. An attempt to delve into her paranoia is there but the layers are lacking and it all amounts to nothing. It was always going to end at the hospital, and it does. It’s predictable and lacks the gravitas of something like Grave Encounters.
That had all the tropes but did an amazing job of subverting expectation, ramping up the chill factor and crafting effective scares. Last Radio Call becomes a tick box exercise for found footage. It fails to create any chills by signposting where the film is going to go and bringing in a character who literally explains exactly what the supernatural threat is. As for scares? If you’ve seen any film like this before, you’ve seen the jump-scares it has to offer.
It’s a miss on almost all points except for the occasional shot or still image that makes you go ‘hmmm’. Such as the final shot of the movie. It’s just a shame it comes well after anyone will care.
Last Radio Call (2022)
The Final Score - 4/10