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Film Review: FM Andy (2015)

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SYNOPSIS:

Andy, a lonely man living in seclusion, operating like a clock: eat, sleep, work. A comfortable monotony with no end in sight, until his radio begins to talk. A surprise that unfolds catastrophic events colliding Andy’s past and present.

REVIEW:

Another indie film comes my way! This time we have FM ANDY, a psychological thriller from Canadian production company Rare Species Productions. This is the first feature film from this company, helmed by writer/director Jamie Carswell.

This is the story of Andy (Todd Caryl) and his pathetic existence. We get the impression very quickly that Andy’s life is kind of a mess. Andy is an awkward man, living alone in an apartment furnished from the 1970s. He doesn’t have much, but he does have an ex-wife Jessica (Eve Wylden) and a son whose photos he keeps on the fridge. He also has his dad’s old radio that seems to work on its own schedule.

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One evening, he receives a visitor – his neighbor Grace (Nancy Gray) who is having plumbing problems and asks to use his shower. Sure, why not, right? gotta be neighborly.

This leads to a very uncomfortable few minutes for Andy, unsure of what to do while the girl is in his shower. Turns out Grace has had her eye on Andy for some time, and offers a dinner date as payback for the favor of using the shower.

Sounds almost like the intro to a P*rn movie, doesn’t it? Not exactly.

After Grace leaves, Andy’s radio (voiced by Robert Drogo) begins to speak directly to him. Most of us would probably throw the damn thing out the window and down a gallon of vodka following such an event, but not Andy. He’s a bit surprised, but takes the development well.

Instead he drinks many beers and has a really weird dream involving Grace and…well, wouldn’t want to ruin it for you.

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Now it’s the next day, and the date with Grace begins with some thai take away in Andy’s apartment and some amazingly awkward conversation. Grace has planned for this, though, and makes her move as boldly as one possibly can.

Again, P*rn vibe? well, no, because the radio begins to speak again. Only Andy can hear it, of course and this just makes things a bit more awkward. The radio isn’t exactly helpful, to say the least.

As the film progesses, we get hints at what might be going on. The real question is, of course, is the radio really talking? Is Andy just a little nuts? What exactly is going on here?

My first thought when I saw this film was that it might have done better as a short feature. However, the film really does take this premise and stretch it out in an entertaining manner. Shades of A Clockwork Orange, Psycho, and just a tad of The Shining. It goes from surreal to scary to seductive and back again.

The score is right on point. It is a constant ambient sound that creates tension for the viewer even though you don’t know why you should be tense. It builds as the story does, almost a character unto itself.

The film focuses mostly on two characters (three if you count the radio, but I’ll get to that). Todd Caryl has a few other credits to his name, including a recurring character in the TV series Pretty in Geek. This is his first feature film. He does quite well in the role, especially considering the swings in mood and presentation.

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Nancy Gray also has a few other credits, mostly short films and an appearance on the TV show Surviving Evil. She plays Grace with a combination of realism and fantasy that makes the character feel like a real person. We’ve all been there:dropping that hint the size of Texas to a person we’ve admired from afar and praying we will not be rejected. She takes the flag and runs with it in a way most of wish we had the nerve to do.

And The Radio, voiced by Robert Drogo….what can I say? This film is his only IMDB listing, but I find it hard tobelieve that he has no other acting experience. He’s the star of the show. Snarky, rude, a bit offensive, totally manipulative and absolutely entertaining.

We have a cameo appearance by Vanessa Lai Fox, whom you might recognize from the TV series Urban Legends and the Cinemax series Lingerie

The script Jamie Carswell provided for these characters is simply perfect. They talk like real people, which helps sell the story. An lonely, awkward man…a lonely, beautiful woman…and a really rude radio, all mixed together in a “neither here nor there” reality.

There are a few moments of gore, in case you were wondering. But only a few, and they pretty well done. Any more than what was given would have ruined the overall production. Just the right balance of everything to make the film entertaining.

So on a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 8 radio tubes.

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