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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SNOWMAGEDDON -- DVD review by porfle

There seems to be an entire category of movies on the SyFy Channel in which small Canadian towns double as small Northwestern towns in the USA which are menaced by some kind of supernatural (or super-natural) force, which resides or has its origin in a nearby mountain.  Bad CGI comes as a standard feature; giant tentacles are optional. 

One of the latest entries in this curious little sub-genre is SNOWMAGEDDON (2011), a movie whose title pretty much lets us know what kind of movie we're in for.  This time, a rustic burg in Alaska gets hammered by a series of unnatural disasters such as a storm cloud that shoots ice torpedoes which shatter into deadly shrapnel, gaping fissures bisecting city streets and gushing flames, and huge pointy things shooting up out of the ground to spear moving vehicles like shish-kabobs. 

The reason for all this is kept from us at first, lending the film an air of supernatural mystery that's mildly intriguing--until, that is, we find out that the secret behind it all is pretty freakin' dumb.  Suffice it to say that there's this kid named Rudy who plays a role-playing game about dragons and wizards, and he anonymously receives a strange snowglobe for Christmas with a tiny repica of the town in it, and whenever he winds it up, something bad happens.  Somehow, all of this is related to that RPG that he plays.  Why?  Don't ask me.

The destruction is depicted with some pretty good practical effects--the picturesque little town is trashed quite nicely--along with the usual fair-to-awful CGI.  Once the slush hits the fan, the action is split into different little suspense situations of varying interest, including two hapless shlubs trapped in a bus covered with downed power lines, stranded snowboarders who picked the wrong mountain to board, and a mother-daughter duo in a crashed helicopter. 

Good editing helps jazz things up a bit, but it's all just standard time-waster stuff that helps cheapo flicks like this fill in the space between the opening and closing credits. 

Once the kid finally convinces the grownups that his evil snowglobe is causing all the trouble--which, admittedly, might be a bit hard to swallow at first--they follow his sage advice on how to combat the supernatural menace.  Which means two things: one, they've really run out of ideas.  And two, his dad, John Miller (David Cubitt), must make a trek up the now-volcanic peak in order to do what the hero in the game does to stop the evil. 

The acting is about as good as you'd expect from this sort of thing, with Laura Harris (of the late, lamented "Defying Gravity") deserving better as Rudy's plucky mom, Beth.  The dialogue isn't any better or worse than required, save for the occasional eye-rolling exchange such as this:

LARRY: "That thing's straight from Hell itself."
FRED: "Calm down, Larry."
LARRY: "You calm down, Fred."

The DVD from Anchor Bay is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish.  No extras.

Really, I can't add any more to this than you can already figure out from the title.  If the word SNOWMAGEDDON doesn't tell you exactly what this movie is all about and whether or not you'll enjoy it, nothing will.  Bottom line: it's a passable, tolerable time-waster.

Buy it at

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