Although not the toughest, fearsome, most dangerous or even most glamorous job on the planet there has been a strangely large amount of horror films where the main character has been a radio DJ.
From Clint Eastwood’s psycho thriller Play Misty For Me, to 80’s classics like The Fog and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 to modern day horror’s like Dead Air, Pontypool and Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem disc jockeys have swapped playing records and chatting crap for battling psycho killers, cannibal families and the various forces of evil on surprisingly numerous occasions.
Why radio DJ’s I hear you cry into your mobile phone streaming the latest podcast on DAB. Who knows I yell back however at least in the latest example Dark Signal the radio station and its presenter are integral to the plot.
Set in the isolated Welsh valley’s on the last night of radio DJ Laurie’s (Siwan Morris) late night show the chain smoking music loving cynic is determined to go out on a high after her station has been sold off to a big brand company who are condensing all the shows, moving to digital and dropping all local broadcasts including hers.
Against Laurie’s wishes and better judgment her engineer Ben (Gareth David-Lloyd from Tourchwood) has the somewhat unhinged idea of bringing on famous medium Carla (The Beyond’s Cinzia Monreale) for their sendoff and when she picks up a very real message from a ghostly girl they decide to conduct a live séance over the air-waves to find out what happened to the troubled soul.
Meanwhile a friend of Ben’s, single mother Kate (Joanna Ignaczewska) finds herself listening to the show while reluctantly helping her boyfriend rob the remote house of a footballer who owes him money.
As the burglary goes from bad to worse Kate who is waiting in the getaway car starts to sense something strange and she realises to her dread that she is far from being alone.
As events take a turn towards the terrifying Kate will face not only the supernatural but something far more menacing and the truth that links all of the strange and spooky events will finally become clear to everyone involved.
Although opening weakly with a cliché pre-credit home invasion jump Edward Evers-Swindell’s directorial feature debut which he also penned is a solid shocker with some excellent ideas that inventively blends a few horror genres along its twisting and gripping plot path.
Produced by legendary horror director Neil Marshal who Evers-Swindell worked with on The Descent 1 and 2 there is definitely potential here and although the dark haired girl ghost might be a tired and trite motif in other areas Dark Signal excels making the most of its solid cast and epic location on what seems to be a relatively low budget.
Entertaining, engaging and far more interesting than it first appears Dark Signal is a great British horror export and well worth a watch with its central character Laurie joining a pantheon of radio DJ horror heroes facing their fears and transforming the meaning of FM into Fucking Mental.