HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

12 DISASTERS -- DVD review by porfle

If one disaster makes for an exciting movie, then twelve of them would be twelve times more exciting, right?  Well...we're talking about the SyFy Channel here, and 12 DISASTERS (2012) is just the same old story they've been rehashing for years only with some slightly different but equally rinky-dink CGI.

Ed Quinn (BEHEMOTH) heads a cast dotted with several SyFy vets as rugged family man Joseph, whose 18-year-old daughter Jacey (Magda Apanowicz, SNOWMAGEDDON) turns out to be the "chosen one" in a long line of mystical women going all the way back to the Mayans.  She's the one who will have to stop the ancient Mayan prediction of the end of the world on 12/21/2012, as foretold in--brace yourselves--the Christmas carol "The 12 Days of Christmas." (The film's original title, as you might guess, was "The 12 Disasters of Christmas.")

You're probably singing that to yourself right now but it won't really help until you get to the part about the "five gold rings", which Jacey and her dad must locate and which are buried (for some damn reason I couldn't figure out) in secret locations all around their remote, rustic town (the usual Canadian location subbing for the U.S. Northwest).  Only with all five rings can Jacey ward off the impending twelve disasters which will destroy the earth.

We never really understand what the rest of the world has to fear since the disasters only affect their own small town, and most of them don't even qualify as "disasters."  There's a bad-CGI tornado, a mild earthquake, and some pretty cool giant ice shards that rain down out of the sky and skewer a few citizens (including Joseph's mom).

At one point, a crack in the earth releases some red gas that disintegrates a few bad guys who are under the impression that they can save themselves by sacrificing Jacey by fire (including the typical evil industrialist played by Roark Critchlow of EARTH'S FINAL HOURS). 

Another fissure in the earth's crust releases a sort of heat force-field that fries anything that tries to pass through it,  including some really poorly-rendered rescue helicopters.   The most interesting "disaster", for me anyway, is a rapidly-spreading cold wave that flash-freezes everything in its path, but we only get to see a few selected townspeople get turned into ice statues.  This is mainly due to the fact that these scenes don't feature a whole lot of extras.

Probably the dumbest-looking of the various deadly perils is a string of out-of-control Christmas lights that wrap themselves around a hapless victims and zap him to death in what might be Clark Griswold's worst nightmare.

The final and supposedly deadliest disaster occurs, as it so often does in these flicks, up in the mountains, where some meager volcanic effects billow and spew as Jacey and her dad scramble to locate the last ring.

Their quest to do so gets decidedly tiresome in the film's second half, as Critchlow's character menaces them while his cowardly cohort Jude (Andrew Airlie, APOLLO 18, "Defying Gravity") holds Joseph's wife Mary (Holly Elissa, ICE QUAKE) and son Peter (Ryan Grantham,  ICE QUAKE) hostage. (But at least you can pass the time picking out all of the script's obvious Biblical references.)

Director Steven R. Monroe of 2010's I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and its sequel (as well as 2006's LEFT IN DARKNESS) turns in a passable but rushed job of bringing the screenplay by writer Rudy Thauberger (SNOWMAGEDDON) to a semblance of life.  Performances range from okay to not-so-great, with Magda Apanowicz as Jacey managing to work up the most convincing displays of emotion.

As Grant, an old codger who tries in vain to warn everyone of the impending doom, is veteran actor Donnelly Rhodes, whose mile-long list of credits includes playing the gambler who accuses Robert Redford of cheating in the opening minutes of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.

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.

If you catch 12 DISASTERS in the right mood, you'll probably get some "bad-movie" enjoyment out of it.  At any rate, most of us pretty much know just what to expect from these SyFy Channel "end-of-the-world" flicks and whether or not we want to waste precious moments of our lives watching them.

 Buy it at


No comments: