A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio (2019) ***BHFF 2019***

Director: Luciano Onetti, Oliver Park, Jason Bognacki, A.J. Briones, Joshua Long, Sergio Morcillo, Adam O'Brien, Nicolás Onetti, Pablo S. Pastor, Matthew Richards
Year: 2019
Country: Argentina/New Zealand
Alternate Titles: N/A
Genre: Anthology

Working at a radio station, a DJ spins tales of murder and the macabre for his listeners throughout the night.


Post-Mortem Mary-Living in a rural Australian village, the death of a neighbor’s young girl forces a woman to bring her inexperienced daughter over to help prepare the girls’ body for the funeral. As they go about their business trying to get her photograph, they find something sinister has taken over the dead girls’ body. For the most part, this was a solid and enjoyable entry. The Gothic setting and rural locations are put to good use providing this with a great foundation to start in on the later supernatural hauntings after the body has been prepared. These are built up fantastically with a slow, foreboding menace the longer they show her attempting to fix the body for the photographs which is greatly enhanced by the unease she has performing such tasks including the positioning and eye resetting. The final twist is accomplished nicely in a wholly creepy sequence but in concept is way too obvious which is the only downside to this one.

A Little Off the Top-Meeting up with his favorite client, a maniacal hair-stylist tries to get her to see the situation through his eyes but is entirely unsuccessful at the endeavor. Faced with no decision left, he turns to his impulses to mete out the proper punishment for his irrational beliefs. There really isn’t a whole lot with this segment. The contraption that holds her hair in place is an inventive and chilling torture device with a great look to it, yet the incessant dialog about the history of hair-care and what they’re relationship has turned into over the years drains so much life and energy from the segment that it’s hard to really care. The nature of what he’s doing doesn’t make any sense as it’s hard to get invested in his plight of caring about hair that much, and the bland torture-porn outcome has some brutal moments but is again quite expected, leaving this a rather routing segment.

The Disappearance of Willie Bingham-Starting up a new job, a supervisor at a local prison sees it fit to institute a program authorizing the butchering of criminals through surgery to recompense for their crimes. As he continually loses more of his body in the process, the toll of the situation starts to affect both of them. This one really could’ve been much better than it was. The idea of what’s happening here is an exceptionally original and creative way to treat prisoners in a cruel warning matter by dismembering the prisoner for the crimes he committed. Trotting him out to warn others against others following in his footsteps is a great idea and the commentary on the situation is rather nice, but none of it’s scary with all the focus on the wrong individual where we see it from the supervisor along for the case rather than the torment of what he’s going through in the surgeries which is where the horror comes from. That’s what holds this one down somewhat.

Drops-Caught up in her studies, a determined dancer tries to balance practicing for her dreams while dealing with her relationship with her boyfriend and the other dancers at the studio. When the strange supernatural demon that’s been following her starts to increase the severity of its connection to her, she realizes what she must do to be free of the creature forever. This segment was a solid and enjoyable enough effort once it gets past its flaws. As it takes a while to get the main setup revealed, the fact that she constantly succumbs to these weird pangs and outbreaks when nothing’s around to cause them seems weird more than anything, but once we find out the actual cause add a dark atmosphere to the segment. The lack of explanation for anything does hurt this one somewhat as it’s all implied information from a lived-in world, but this is still quite fun and creepy when it matters.

The Smiling Man-Following a trail of strange balloons in her house, a young girl wanders into the kitchen to check only to see a disturbing, demonic-looking being inside. Trying to placate the frightened girl, the stranger offers her a treat made from an incredibly shocking and terrifying secret. This was a solid and highly enjoyable ultra-short effort here. The main figure is incredibly creepy and looks genuinely frightening, while the interactions with the girl knowing the secret adds a delightfully chilling vibe to the material as the brevity ends it before really getting any kind of resolution, leaving this with a great conclusion overall.

Into the Mud-Waking up in the woods, a confused and disheveled woman struggles to come to grips with the situation when she finds a mysterious hunter out trying to killer her. As she struggles to get to safety while he relentlessly pursues his target, a last-second reveal over their actual fates might change everything. Overall, this was a pretty decent segment. The bewilderment and confusion over the situation are quite appropriate which suits the series of chases and confrontations that emerge between the two which is a solid cat-and-mouse set up with the forest being used as a fantastic setting for it to occur. The creature feature twist is fantastic and works great, coming off as a wholly original surprise that affords this one some solid make-up effects work not only on the creature but the strong and impactful gore as well. Though there’s very little to no dialogue to make sense of anything, there’s a lot to like elsewhere here to raise this one up.

Vicious-Returning home after a late-night, a woman feels extremely uneasy about the situation and tries to find the cause of the disturbance which will soothe her troubled sister. Aware of the real dangers that lurk inside, she tries to figure out the cause of the incidents while protecting her sister and herself. This was quite an enjoyable and chilling segment. The first walk-through the house, as she’s looking for whatever disturbed the house, manages to create a fine creepy air here with the deliberate movements and drawn-out atmosphere which dives into the later scenes of them together helping to unravel the mysterious setup. The demons appearing are creepy and inherently startling when they appear with their deformed and inhuman appearance that contributes greatly to the jump-scare machine that follows. While the final outcome is predictable, the rest of this is enough to overcome it.

Nightmare Radio-Working at a radio station, a DJ talks with his listeners as they tell their own horror stories during the show while he recounts with tales of his own. As he continues his shift and a prank caller gets on his nerves, he tries to make it through before anything out of the ordinary happens. This is a solid enough outing for this one. The concept for this is a fantastic excuse for setting up an anthology of this format, the rationale for telling stories is fine for this kind of outing and the atmosphere of the situation and there’s a fine undercurrent to the setup of the show. The fact that he continually cuts off the listeners and acts arrogantly to them with the feeling that their stories are lame while his are better and scarier makes him an unlikeable prick throughout here making it hard to get on his side which is needed for the final reveal. The interstitial stories aren’t that bad but it’s somewhat disappointing overall.

Overview: ***/5
One of the more enjoyable attempts at creating the shorter story brand of anthology film instead of the longer-format storytelling, this one was a lot of fun regardless of the genre format. Any and all fans of anthology films or of the creative crew should look into this one, while those that aren't appreciative of the style should heed caution.

This review ran as part of our coverage of the 2019 edition of the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. Click below to see all of our coverage of the event: