The question is not how far one will go to take a life, but how far one will go to save a life in this German-produced slasher-noir where Andrew Kevin Walker’s Seven (1995) and 8MM (1999) meets Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio (1988) and Allan Moyle’s Pump Up the Volume (1990).
The “Roc Doc,” an acidic and opinionated amateur psychologist, operates the basement-bound Radio Nighthawk as he spins ‘60s American soul records and expounds on the news of the day—and he makes the mistake mocking the police for failing to prevent the gruesome murders of the media-dubbed The Night Slitter.
“How difficult can it be to prevent The Night Slitter from breaking down his next victim into individual parts?” Roc Doc ponders.
“Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is,” calls-in The Night Slitter. “After all, everyone has a body buried in the basement. The ego is not master in its own house, Roc Doc.”
And so begins the cat and mouse game with the Roc Doc forced to stay on the air—and admit to his own inner monster and skeletons—if he wants to save the life of The Night Slitter’s current victim: he’s audibly torturing the daughter of the grizzled police inspector on his trail.
Beginning as a Euro-festival acclaimed 20 minute short released in 2010, this 95-minute feature length version—alternately known as Der Tod hört mit (Death Listens) and On Air in other quarters—borrows its inspiration from the New French Extremity film movement spearheaded by Alexandre Aja’s worldwide hit High Tension (2003).
It made its U.S debut under the title Radio Silence via the festival circuit, where it won multiple Best Film and Best Director awards at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Sacramento Horror Film Fest, the Atlanta Horror Film Festival, and the Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival.