It’s always unsettling to read articles about people with little known and poorly understood diseases who went to doctor after doctor, underwent test after test, and for years no one could diagnose their ailment. They are often told that they are suffering from some psychosomatic or other emotional problem, sometimes they are given anti-depressants which do nothing for them. Some are suspected of being malingerers or hypochondriacs.
Every time I see or read one of these stories, my mind runs wild — cataloguing all the things that plague me that might be symptoms that mean something serious — and I wonder what rare ailment do I have. I then administer the best medicine (for me) — I tell myself it’s all in my head — and go about my life knowing that I shouldn’t read articles about strange diseases. How likely is it that there’s some dread disease or syndrome marked by dry skin, cellulite, and hot flashes?
Radiant is an independent film that introduces the audience to four individuals (played by Sandra Fish, Jeremy Schwartz, Matthew Tompkins, and Laurel Whitsett) suffering from undiagnosable diseases who visit a doctor in the desert because he is working on an experimental virus. Each hopes that the doctor's research will lead to relief from whatever it is they have. The doctor has an employee, Ed Moss (well played by James Cable), who suffers from socialization problems; Ed is in charge of the experimental animals, in this case, dogs. He lives in a small house near a brick barn at the far reaches of the property on which the research facility is located.
Dr. Blackpool (Jim Covault) does not operate a government-sanctioned laboratory; the government sends in its biohazard-suited commandos to shut the place down, and one of these gorillas shoots a metal box containing the virus on which the doctor has been working (attempting to create a super-virus that would protect the body from harmful viruses).
Viruses are fascinating, particularly the way they work in the host body. Viruses in movies are often ridiculous; beware the independent film about the outbreak of a deadly virus mutating its victims. Radiant is not one of those movies.