Part Red Dawn, part conspiracy theory film, this film from writer-director Aaron Garrett is an interesting look at what can happen if martial law were to actually exist in small town USA.
In the small town of Madison, two estranged brothers, Ash and Mark Whitmore, are attempting to make amends. On Ash’s birthday, aspiring journalist Donny, who is Ash’s best friend, gives him a camera with hopes he can document Ash and Mark’s reunion and perhaps get some footage for his viral channel. Mark brings along his fiancée Stephanie, but the tensions between the brothers continue to rise. However, things are about to o from bad to worse.
A sonic blast hits the small town and the group becomes horrified to learn that Madison has fallen under martial law. As a result, the townspeople are not allowed to leave town and anyone who opposes so much as the police will be arrested. When Mark and the mother of a young girl, Becky, are arrested, Ash, Donny, Stephanie, and conspiracy theorist Tessa must hatch a plan to get them and to make matters worse, the government has shut down the entire town and now, this group must escape at any cost.
Writer-director Aaron Garrett comes up with a 21st-century take of the 1980’s classic Red Dawn that adds the twist of the conspiracy theory. While the film is definitely on a miniscule budget, Garrett and team makes the most of its budget in the story of two estranged brothers and some acquaintances as they must escape their small town when martial law inexplicably takes over. What’s even more outstanding is that the film is done in a found footage style along with the camera being used to see the point of views particularly from both Ash and his buddy Donny.
The film starts out as a family drama between brothers Ash, played by Justin Rose and Mark, played by Sean Mount. These two brothers can’t stand each other, but there are flashbacks with the brothers on a camping trip in which they did get along. Perhaps this was seen as the last time we saw them get along before their estrangement. There are two people who attempt to bring them together, one being Ash’s friend Donny, played with the occasional preliminary comic wit by Andrew Yackel; and Mark’s fiancée Stephanie, played by Olivia Vadnais. Of course, things don’t go as planned until the third act of the film.
One can see Jennie Bushnell’s Tessa Monroe as annoying and arrogant as she is a conspiracy theorist who is convinced that the town’s siege is some part of a major conspiracy. Another annoying character is that of Michael Stone, the host of a channel, The Fringe Facts.com, in which actor Elliot Mayer does his best Alex Jones impersonation. It’s not the actor isn’t great, it’s just the character gives off that terrible Jonesy-vibe that would have people remember the consequences of the real like Jones that resulted in his being terminated from social media platforms. Look out for the writer-director Garrett himself as Roland, a mechanic by day but resistance fighter by night in the vein of Powers Boothe’s Tanner. The film does have a mid-credits sequence that looks like it could set up a potential sequel and from how this film played out, it does bring a sense of curiosity to the mix as to see how this story will unfold.
False Flag is a pretty good and smoothly paced film that melds martial law and conspiracy theory with some nice twists and turns with the hopes of perhaps a follow-up from its mid-credit sequence.
WFG RATING: B
Wild Eye Releasing presents a Madison Film production. Director: Aaron Garrett. Producer: Aaron Garrett. Writer: Aaron Garrett. Cinematography: Joseph G. Bucci. Editing: Jason Eric Perlman.
Cast: Justin Rose, Sean Mount, Andrew Yackel, Olivia Vadnais, Isabella Pucci, Jennie Bushnell, Elliott Mayer, Aaron Garrett, Keith Hernandez.