04th Jun2020

‘Shockwave: Countdown to Disaster’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Stacey Oristano, Rib Hillis, Ed Amatrudo, Bruce Thomas, Tyler Perez, Morgan Lindholm, Evan Sloan, Mike Capozzi, Jason Cabell, Soufiane El Khalidy, Josh Crotty, Cassidy Schiltz, Chris Ashworth, Autumn Federici | Written by Blaine Chiappetta, Rafael Jordan, Ari Novak | Directed by Nick Lyon

When massive volcanic storms begin to spew from the Earth, geophysicist Kate Ferris tries to convince the Department of Defense that this is no natural phenomenon. They re the result of a seismic super weapon known as the Hell Storm device; and now that it’s been activated, the shock-waves it sends out will destroy major cities across the globe, killing millions. When her claims fall on deaf ears, Kate teams up with her daughter and estranged husband at the San Andreas fault line to find a way to counteract the destruction. As Kate and her family navigate the fault, they find themselves directly at the epicenter of the largest shock wave yet. Now, in a harrowing race against the clock, Kate must figure out how to stop the shock-wave before its effects seal humanity’s fate once and for all.

Nick Lyon, who previously brought us the disaster movie Earthtastrophe in 2016, returns to the end-of-the-world well with Shockwave: Countdown to Disaster, ANOTHER apocalyptic movie that, given the current state of the world today with the global pandemic and swarms murder hornets, should probably have been released under its alternate title… 2020! So the timing is undoubtedly right on this release but having been released on DVD in January 2018, and taking over two years for the film to make its way across the pond to finally debut here in the UK. Was it worth the wait?

In a word. Yes.

Looking similar to a myriad of other low-budget disaster movies, at least in terms of visual effects, Shockwave: Countdown to Disaster actually plays things a lot more seriously than you’d expect. After all, a lot of these kinds of genre movies err on the side of caution and use comedy to mask any shortcomings in the films budget, acting, scripts. etc. Here we’ve essentially got a low-budget take on the big Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie – where joe public are the heroes and the government is either a) too stupid to see what’s happening, or b) is using the situation to their advantage. Here we get both!

Of course disaster movies such as these are ten-a-penny these days, so there’s not going to be any originality left in the genre. As is the case with Shockwave: Countdown to Disaster, which brings together a number of tropes and cliches together but still manages to craft an exciting film – mainly thanks to the performances of its cast and the fantastic tension built up between Kate (Stacey Oristano), who really knows whats going on with the super-weapon, and the government agents who will not listen, or help, her. In fact the film is almost X-Files-like in the conspiracy against Kate and her husband Rob (Rib Hillis), which offers an extra level of interest over and above the core disaster film plot.

But then being a little extra is par for the course for Nick Lyon’s oeuvre… After all, this is the director that made a BETTER Hercules film than Hollywood did and managed to make a low-budget zombie movie with as much heart and emotion as George Romero’s classic trilogy. With Shockwave: Countdown to Disaster he might be in Syfy channel territory but that doesn’t mean he’s scrimped on any portion of the movie, delivering an action-packed film that belies it budget to deliver one of the best low-budget disaster movies I’ve seen in a while.

**** 4/5

Shockwave: Countdown to Disaster is out on DVD now from Ignition.

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