UK DVD release date: USA import only
Certificate: 15
Running time: 40 mins
Director: David Prior
Starring: Eric Lange, John Billingsley, Ray Wise
Genre: Horror
Format: DVD
Country: United States

Having robbed his employer and gone on the run the repercussions of Sam Larson’s (Eric Lange) actions begin to haunt him.  Broken down on a stretch of highway Larson finds himself trapped in a game of moral chess by a possessed radio station and it’s devilish inhabitants.

David Prior has been championed by modern day auteur David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) having worked together on the set of Panic Room and Zodiac so it’s almost understandable if one enters into the screening with a degree of skepticism.  After all a pre-existing working relationship may have biased the opinion of Fincher.  This skepticism is blown away almost instantaneously as Prior creates a modern universe for one of the most inadaptable pieces of work from horror supreme  H.P. Lovecraft.  Visually the film is assured, strong and absolutely mesmerizing as Prior's use of the camera is closer to an artists brush than a piece of machinery.  The slow spiral zoom into the map in Larson’s house transforming into the stretch of road being travelled before descending and into the car is one of the most beautifully technological and inspirational pieces of director creativity and CGI you’re likely to see.  His use of chiaroscuro lighting and superimposition of reflections allows him to tell a longer tale than the forty minutes running time of the film through the layering within the shot.  Horror pacing can be something of a balancing act.  Wait too long as you lose all the tension you’ve worked so hard visually and narratively to construct, too soon and you misfire leaving the audience jarring with the film.  Prior handles it amazingly, rejecting the normal expectations of timing and narrative transitions in favour for creating something greater, stronger.  To go into any more depth would be to ruin a taught experience

Ray Wise as Harry Jones in AM1200
The use of sound is wonderful and manages to ground a concept that could be extremely lofty and almost inconceivable for most audiences allowing director and actors to deliver a faithful yet completely original horror.  Lange is excellent creating a character that’s richer than you would find in any film of the same length.  His ability to create contempt and sympathy for his 'inside man' is a true testament to his years on the stage and his understanding of his craft.  Likewise Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robo-Cop) portrays the loud mouth Harry Jones brilliantly and his downfall is handled just right.  His restraint from overacting gives him an extra layer to the characters personality.  Loud yes, annoying sure, but tragic and sympathetic.

David Prior has clearly been waiting too long to be recognized by the world for his unmistakable ability and if anything David Fincher has downplayed just how talented the man is.  AM1200 is an incredibly atmospheric, suspenseful and intimidating horror with intelligence and to top it all off looks beautiful and does all of this in under an hour.  It’s only fault is it’s not three times longer.


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