Director – Geoff Meed, Screenplay – Geoff Meed, Lauren Pritchard & Joe Roche, Story – Lauren Pritchard & Joe Roche, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Brayton Austin, Music – Mikel Shane Prather & Phillip Ramirez, Visual Effects Supervisor – Glenn Campbell, Production Design – Amanda Farmer. Production Company – The Asylum.
Dominique Swain (Colonel Norris), Arie Johnson (Dr Lynise Hugues), Eric St. John (Major Oakley Jones), Eva Ceja (Dr Dakota Lenna), Brandon Alan Smith (Dr Elliott Rodney), Isaac Cruz (Lieutenant Rorhbacher), Preston Geer (Aidan), Bridger Buckley (Sergeant Irv Shockley), Stamaur Mitchell (Tremblay), Junior Alibi (Rodrigo), Rodrigo Brand (Duarte), Marco Neves (Paulo)
A series of disasters, including storms, volcanos, earthquakes and locust swarms, are appearing all over the world. At The Pentagon, Colonel Norris despatches select scientists and a military peacekeeping force headed by Major Oakley Jones to the epicentre of the disasters in Brazil. It is determined that the volcanos originate from a central lake in the area and are causing a chain reaction around the world. Dr Rodney improvises a solution to try and kill off the locusts that swam them, while others try to seal the lake volcano. Meanwhile, a fungus is causing people to hallucinate. The religious Major Jones believes he sees the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding in the sky.
The disaster movie has become the province of the Syfy Channel and other channels during the latter half of the 2000s through the 2010s-20s. In this time, there have been a great many cheap and usually formulaic efforts churned out. (For a more detailed listing of these see my essay Disaster Movies). The low-budget production company The Asylum, mostly known for their mockbusters and deliberately ridiculous killer shark films, has dabbled in a number of these. Their efforts include the likes of 2012: Doomsday (2007), 2012 Supernova (2009), Titanic II (2009), Arctic Apocalypse (2019), 2012: Ice Age (2011), 100° Below 0 (2012), 500 MPH Storm (2013), Airplane vs Volcano (2013), Age of Ice (2014), Asteroid vs Earth (2014), San Andreas Quake (2015), Geo-Disaster (2017), Oceans Rising (2017), Apocalypse of Ice (2020), Asteroid-a-Geddon (2020), Collision Earth (2020), Meteor Moon (2020), Moon Crash (2022), Titanic 666 (2022), 20.0 Megaquake (2022) and Doomsday Meteor (2023).
According to The Book of Revelations in The Bible, The Four Horsemen come to herald the apocalypse – horse-mounted figures that respectively represent pestilence, war, famine and Death. They have been represented in Mediaeval art and been the subject of assorted heavy metal songs. There was also the classic silent anti-war film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), although this is a non-genre work and the horsemen do not make any actual appearance there.
4 Horsemen: Apocalypse gives the impression that The Asylum have attempted to create a disaster movie based around The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The result is oddly awkward, a film that feels like it is straining trying to deal with its concept. We get assorted earthquakes and storms, which are not actually features of the Four Horsemen, although we do get a locust swarm (pestilence) and a few deaths but no famine. Wars are implied by the montage of news clips from around the world and the soldiers who are seen hunting local insurgents in the early scenes. We do get to see some very brief glimpses of the Horsemen riding through the sky, represented by some quite cool CGI effects.
Furthermore, for all that the disasters are supposedly heralding The End of the World, they seem telescoped down to a series of happening in the vicinity of a single lake in Brazil and people babbling a word salad of operational jargonese over computers at a nearby abandoned observatory. There is some handwave talk about how this is causing a chain reaction around the world but that does seem to be stretching it for such a big concept.
On the other hand, there is undeniable fun to the film due to a script from The Asylum’s resident mad scientist Joe Roche. Roche has written the scripts for a number of their other films including Collision Earth (2020), Meteor Moon (2020), Alien Conquest (2021), Devil’s Triangle (2021), Planet Dune (2021), Robotapocalypse (2021), Battle for Pandora (2022), Moon Crash (2022), Attack of the Meth Gator (2023) and Doomsday Meteor (2023).
In his films, Joe Roche loves coming up with wild, almost scientifically plausible schemes to make preposterous ideas seem believable. Here these include schemes to cap the volcano by crashing a helicopter into a lake to prevent the epicentre of the volcanic chain reaction; or to stop the locust swarm by detonating homemade bombs that destroy the insects by affecting their oxygen intake, although this has to be detonated by gunshot fired from a moving helicopter, while a fungus is also produced by the volcano and turning some of the soldiers that inhale it crazy.
Geoff Meed is better known as an actor. He has had small acting roles, usually cast as heavies, in various films and tv shows since 1990, including a number of films from The Asylum. For The Asylum, he also wrote a number of scripts including I Am Omega (2007), Universal Soldiers (2007), 6 Guns (2010), Hold Your Breath (2012), Foreclosed (2013), Independents’ Day (2016), Operation Dunkirk (2017), Atlantic Rim: Resurrection (2018), D-Day (2019), San Andreas Mega Quake (2019) and Top Gunner (2020), and scripts for other companies with Bermuda Tentacles (2014). As director, he had previously made The Amityville Haunting (2011) and one other disaster movie Asteroid-a-Geddon (2020) for The Asylum.