Firequake (2014)


Bulgaria/Canada. 2014.


Director – Geoff Browne, Screenplay – Denyc, Producers – Phillip Roth, Devi Singh & Kirk Shaw, Photography – Ivo Peitchev, Music – Claude Foisy, Visual Effects Supervisor – Nikolay Atanasov, Special Effects Supervisor – Georgi Kraev, Production Design – Emil Gigov. Production Company – Bulgarian Unified Film Organization, Ltd./Odyssey Media Inc/Mod Productions


Alexandra Paul (Dr Eve Carter), Zoe Barker (Nikki Carter), Nigel Barber (Declan Glas), James Weber Brown (Killian), Terry Randall (Heinrich), Mariana Stanisheva (Olga), Kicker Robinson (Copper), Kristy Mitchell (Slater), Luke Cousins (Goldman), Derek Morse (Hill)


Teenager Nikki Carter arrives in the Czech Republic to join her estranged mother Dr Eve Carter. Eve is a celebrated engineer who has set up The Helios Project, which promises to tap a plentiful supply of clean energy from beneath the Earth. She is under pressure from Declan, who represents the backers, to get the project online but is insistent they need more tests. While she is away with Nikki, Declan orders the crew to take the project live. Things immediately go wrong and a vast explosion of helios energy floods the mines, causing firequakes to erupt all across the countryside. Declan orders the plant abandoned, leaving four technicians trapped below ground. As Eve and Nikki flee the devastation, they also must deal with Declan who has gone on tv to blame Eve for the disaster and now comes hunting them, determined to silence her.

Firequake is another of the cheap disaster movies that clog up the Syfy Channel. See also the likes of The Black Hole (2006), Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006) , NYC: Tornado Terror (2008), Lava Storm (2008), Annihilation Earth (2009), Ice Twisters (2009), Megafault (2009), Polar Storm (2009), Arctic Blast (2010), Ice Quake (2010), Meteor Storm (2010), Quantum Apocalypse (2010), Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010), Behemoth (2011), Collision Earth (2011), Earth’s Final Hours (2011), Mega Cyclone (2011), Metal Tornado (2011), Seeds of Destruction/The Terror Beneath (2011), Miami Magma (2011), Super Eruption (2011), Super Tanker (2011), 2012 Ice Age (2011), Seattle Super Storm (2012), 500 MPH Storm (2013), Jet Stream (2013), 100o Below 0 (2013), Stonados (2013), Asteroid vs Earth (2014), Crystal Skulls (2014) and LA Apocalypse (2014). It was made by United Film Organization, the production company of sometimes director Phillip Roth, which usually shoots low-budget genre films in Bulgaria. (Now the company has been renamed the Bulgarian Unified Film Organization – see below for their other films).

Firequake quickly settles into the usual formula of the Syfy Channel and (B)UFO disaster movie – a weather control/geo-engineering experiment gone wrong with catastrophic results; the businessman whose greed and mad recklessness endangers everything; the last chance solution advocated by the hero(ine) and the doubts it will succeed; the estranged parent and child who reconcile throughout the conflict. The film does nothing particularly interesting or offers any distinctive variation on any of these.

There are all the usual cheap CGI effects – although it should be noted that Firequake is very sparse with the provision of these. There are none of the standard cutaways to a set-piece where some supporting character is introduced and killed in a freak accident, nor of landmarks toppling. In fact, most of the drama here is far more economically concentrated on the villain (Nigel Barber) pursuing Alexandra Paul through the devastation trying to kill her. The only other aspect is a B plot with four technicians from the plant who have been abandoned below ground trying to find their way out – even then the most interesting thing that ever happens to them is their having to jump over a pit above a river of lava that is all of about six feet across. When it comes down to it, the idea of fire quakes erupting all over the Czech countryside is just not that interesting a threat.

United (sometimes Unified) Film Organization (UFO)’s other genre films include:- Darkdrive (1996), Total Reality (1997), Interceptors (1999), Storm (1999), Deep Core (2000), Epoch (2000), Falcon Down (2000), Mindstorm (2000), Python (2000), Lost Voyage (2001), Shark Hunter (2001), Antibody (2002), Dark Descent (2002), Hyper Sonic (2002), Interceptor Force 2 (2002), Pythons (2002), Dark Waters (2003), Deep Shock (2003), Dragonfighter (2003), Maximum Velocity (2003), Warnings/Silent Warnings (2003), Boa vs Python (2004), Darklight (2004), Dragon Storm (2004), Phantom Force (2004), Post Impact (2004), Alien Siege (2005), Crimson Force (2005), Locusts: The 8th Plague (2005), Manticore (2005), Path of Destruction (2005), S.S. Doomtrooper (2006), Reign of the Gargoyles (2007), Copperhead (2008), Ghost Voyage (2008), Doomsday (2009), Ghost Town (2009), The Grudge 3 (2009), Star Runners (2009), Arctic Predator (2010), Elimination (2010), Lake Placid 3 (2010), Triassic Attack (2010), Cold Fusion (2011), Miami Magma (2011), Morlocks (2011), Rage of the Yeti (2011), Super Eruption (2011), Super Tanker (2011), Black Forest (2012), Boogeyman (2012), Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012), True Bloodthirst (2012), Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012), Deadly Descent (2013), Invasion Roswell (2013), Jet Stream (2013), Robocroc (2013), Super Collider (2013), Crystal Skulls (2014), Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014), Lake Placid vs Anaconda (2015) and Roboshark (2015).

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