Quantum Apocalypse (2010)

Rating:

USA/Germany. 2010.

Crew

Director – Justin L. Jones, Screenplay – Leigh Scott, Producers – Ken Badish & Roland Zelles, Photography – Steven Parker, Music – John Dickson & Miles Hankins, Visual Effects – Sweetpot (Supervisor – Ross Edgar), Additional Visual Effects – Tiny Juggernaut (Supervisor – Davey Jones), Makeup Design – Hailey Authement, Production Design – Aaron Raymond. Production Company – Nu Image/Active Entertainment/Rolize GmbH & Co. KG

Cast

Rhett Giles (Terry Marshall), Stephanie Jacobsen (Lynne), Randy Mulkey (Ben Marshall), Stuart Lafferty (Leo Marshall), Gigi Edgley (Trish), Kristen Quintrall (Lindsey), Jerry Leggio (Dr Sam Zulkowski), Peter Jurasik (President Scott), Dean Arevalo (Dr Rhodes), Kyle Clements (Sean), Collin Galyean (Tom), Shirly Brener (Miss Taylor), Ron Flagge (General Rogers), Amol Shah (Sadoughian), Marcus L. Brown (Carson), Lara Grice (Margaret), Jenna Craig (Samantha Marshall)


Plot

NASA scientists observe as a comet strikes Mars. Afterwards they realise that something had diverted the comet from its natural path. This is discovered to be a quantum anomaly made up of dark matter – moreover, the anomaly is on a collision course and will strike the Earth in 86 hours. As the anomaly approaches, everything is sucked up into it, while people find that matter starts to weighs less. In Lafayette, Louisiana, the town mayor Ben Marshall’s brother Terry is a savant with incredible mathematical abilities. Terry has deduced a complex mathematical solution to the coming quantum apocalypse and insists on going to Houston to deliver it to the NASA scientists. He and Ben struggle to get there across a collapsing countryside. Meanwhile, Ben’s son Leo, his girlfriend Lindsey and Ben’s new wife Lynne become caught up in the social collapse.


Quantum Apocalypse is one of the numerous cheap end of the world films and disaster movies made for the Syfy Channel. See other examples like 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), Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010), Behemoth (2011), Collision Earth (2011), Earth’s Final Hours (2011), Mega Cyclone (2011), Metal Tornado (2011), Miami Magma (2011), Seeds of Destruction/The Terror Beneath (2011), Miami Magma (2011), Super Eruption (2011), Super Tanker (2011), 2012 Ice Age (2011), Alien Tornado (2012), Seattle Super Storm (2012), 500 MPH Storm (2013), Jet Stream (2013), 100o Below 0 (2013), Stonados (2013), Asteroid vs Earth (2014), Christmas Icetastrophe (2014), Crystal Skulls (2014), Firequake (2014), LA Apocalypse (2014), San Andreas Quake (2015) and Stormageddon (2015). Nu Image is a US-based company who are behind a great many cheap action and monster movies including the Cyborg Cop and Operation Delta Force films, Octopus (2000), Spiders (2000) and in more recent years better budgeted efforts such as Rambo (2008), The Bad Lieutenant – Port of Call: New Orleans (2009), The Expendables (2010), Drive Angry (2011), Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and Texas Chainsaw (2013), among others.

Quantum Apocalypse quickly sinks down to the cheap and ridiculous level that most of these other Syfy Channel end of the world films do. Due to the film’s low budget, almost all of the effects of the quantum apocalypse take place as things that happen off screen and are only described. At one point, the film borrows the basic premise from the classic British end of the world film The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) about nations firing nuclear missiles at the poles in an effort to sort out the disaster – although this is a scene that almost entirely takes place off-screen and of which we see almost nothing of the effects and aftermath. About all we do get to see are some cheaply rendered (if basically competent scenes) with New York City being flooded and London being sucked up into the vortex in the sky. There are various scenes of Rhett Giles and Randy Mulkey driving through the disaster at the end but these are lacking in any panoramic or widescale depiction – at most show a partially flooded street passing by outside the window of the SUV and the like.

As with many traditional disaster movies, these cheap end of the world films contrast the large-scale disaster with tepid human soap operas. The ones here travel in entirely predictable and cliche directions – the young teenage girl (Kristen Quintrall) whose bullying ex-boyfriend (Kyle Clements) suddenly uses the opportunity of the imminent social collapse to stop behaving nicely; that the character with the mental handicap (Rhett Giles) is going to provide the mathematical information that is going to save the day if only everybody would take him seriously; that the character with the health condition (Randy Mulkey) is going to get ill in the middle of the disaster; even that the new stepmother (Stephanie Jacobsen) is going to be accepted by the distrusting stepson (Stuart Lafferty) by the end of the film. I had the half-expectation that the title Quantum Apocalypse might have led to a work that ventured into the fascinating world of quantum physics but this is not the case at all. The science used to justify what is going on is nonsensical – dark matter, for instance, is waved around as though it were magic fairy dust. One particularly silly piece is when people start experiencing weightloss and are suddenly able to lift entire vehicles. Surely, this would have disastrous effects everywhere else – like vehicles having a lot more inertia or when people start running or lifting something and find they have expended a great deal more energy than is now needed with potentially catastrophic results.

Australian actor Rhett Giles comes across quite well in the role of the savant hero of the show. On the other hand, Peter Jurasik, who I will always remember as Sid the Snitch on tv’s Hill Street Blues (1981-7), seems far too much of a beta male to be convincing as The President. You keep wondering how such a non-assertive seeming character would have been able to project the necessary charisma in election campaigning and televised debates.

Director Justin Jones worked as an assistant director at The Asylum, becoming a director with two of their films The Apocalypse (2007) and Invasion of the Pod People (2007) and going on to make Mirror Image (2012) and Sorority Party Massacre (2012) for other companies. Writer Leigh Scott has directed a number of low-budget films for The Asylum with The Beast of Bray Road (2005), Frankenstein Reborn (2005), King of the Lost World (2005), Dragon (2006), Exorcism: The Possession of Gal Bowers (2006), Hillside Cannibals (2006), Pirates of Treasure Island (2006), The 9/11 Commission Report (2006), The Hitchhiker (2007) and Transmorphers (2007), as well as several other genre items for other companies with Dracula’s Curse (2005), Flu Bird Horror (2008), Chrome Angels (2009), The Dunwich Horror (2009), The Witches of Oz (2011), Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2012), The Lost Girls (2014), Piranha Sharks (2014) and episodes of the anthology The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013).



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