Now that we have a world where our tornados are filled with sharks and our airplanes filled with snakes, similar films like Super Storm (or "Mega Cyclone" as was its apparent initial title) should really not be chuffed off as much. In the age of the feature length movie on the SyFy network, somehow I feel like all of these things owe some small nod to Roger Corman or even Ed Wood. The films start out with premises without even having to see a commercial for them, you are either going to buy into it and go along for the ride or not, it is your choice.
In the case of Super Storm, the film is written by David Ray (Ice Quake) and directed by Sheldon Wilson (Snowmageddon). Unlike the latter's other film I have seen for DVD Talk, Super Storm has some more immediately familiar faces in it for me. Like Snowmaggedon though, these faces seem to be used in familiar ways. In a small town a few kids are supposed to meet for a weekend day spent in high school detention for various offenses. In Super Storm, the Mr. Vernon for this story is Jason Newmar, played by Richard Sutcliffe, whom one may recognize as Lauren Graham's ex-husband in (The Gilmore Girls). Jason's son Will (Brett Dier, Diary of a Wimpy Kid) is your stereotypical disgruntled teen between an estranged household, with his mother/Jason's ex-wife Andrea (Leah Cairns, 88 Minutes) working as a sheriff in town. Will's detention mates include Megan (Luisa D'Oliveira, 50/50), Susan (Cindy Busby, The Big Year) and Lawson (Riley Dolman, Flicka 2) and while there is some obligatory character conflict between the quartet, it is pretty innocuous. On the other end of town, Gunter (Mitch Pileggi, The X-Files) is working on a solution to stop the deadly storms in their tracks, with the help of Carolyn (Erica Cerra, Blade: Trinity). They do not leap into the storm with a chainsaw and come out of the storm's butthole, but whatever works I suppose.
For the longest time while watching this movie, it was hard to tell what exactly was so ‘super' about this storm. Was it killing people? Sure. Was it almost selective in who and how it killed? Absolutely. But one would say that that is hardly ‘super' and more ‘serial killer' than anything else. The storm was definitely entertaining to watch as it terrorized this town, which is apparently called Heartfield. Heartfield is the only one who can solve the issue with these storms, as New York, Boston and Washington have all been either decimated or completely destroyed by these storms which include lightning and tornadoes, and leave it to the guy who played Skinner to solve the problem. It was how the storm is hyped and what it actually does that was a problem for me, at least as much a problem as one can have with a "Super Storm."
Getting past the effects of the storm which were actually not entirely horrible (the electrocution of one of the kids in the detention hall was kind of cool, another…not so much), the performances of those involved are average, if nothing else they lack any real complaint. It is slightly disarming to have Pileggi play a curmudgeon of sorts and he appears uncomfortable in the role, though his time onscreen is somewhat marginal and when onscreen he carries his time as one would expect. The kids hold their own and go through the motions, hitting the requisite beats the story lays out. Sutcliffe displays some of the charm and composure I can recall him showing during his time on television. The ensemble has a firm grasp of what they are dealing with and what the story gives them, and they execute the script with tongue planted in cheek to that measure.
And that as I have said before is key when it comes to making a bad movie. If one goes into making the movie knowing that what they have is bad (or are so oblivious to the point that they almost have blinders on), then a bad film may actually turn out to be entertaining, and that is what Super Storm ultimately turns out to be. Does the film reinvent the wheel? Goodness no, but the super storm at least has entertaining looking rims on the tires.
The Blu-ray of Super Storm arrives with an AVC-encoded 1.78:1 widescreen presentation and in high definition, the overall look was fine. The backgrounds look nice to be sure, but in high definition they tend to lack a multidimensional appearance. Image detail is also adequate, though leaves something to be desired. Black levels tend to be inconsistent (a scene where Pileggi leaves a darkened barn being one of the things that comes to mind) and shadow delineation is similar, but at least film grain is present during viewing. All in all I would have to equate this to little more than an HD broadcast, it was an underwhelming disc.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track is a bit more impressive on the other hand. The low-end gets a bit of a workout in the moments when the storm becomes all excessively super-like, and lightning shoots out from the front and rear channels effectively with directional accuracy, putting the listener in the middle of things. In quieter dialogue-driven moments, said dialogue is clean and consistent and requires little compensation. Channel panning was a tad on the weak side, but the listening experience was better than anticipated.
Nothing here. Well yeah, like you were expecting anything else.
No one is expecting anything revelatory about a movie whose basic concept is a storm that obliterates major metropolitan cities and country bumpkins with impunity and precision of attack, and Super Storm fits the bill on that count. The story is average and underwhelming and the performances reflect the story's limits while the cast shows their own merits. Technically, the disc is decent but could use a supplement or two, but honestly unless one is really hard up for use of rear channels in a surround environment, one should spend time watching this on television on a presumed rerun more than anything else.