A disaster movie severely hampered by unfortunate coincidences in the plot
21 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The plot concerns a family going hiking when there is a danger about, and forgetting to take their phones with them so they can't be warned. In this case the danger is a particularly vicious form of lightning, but the plot would work just as well if the danger was an escaped convict, paedophile, poisonous spider, chemical leak, earthquake or nuclear attack. I suspect that the lightning strikes attracted the filmmakers because of the ease of portraying them with special effects. A meteorologist predicts the lightning, but an unnecessary coincidence is introduced into the plot, in that the meteorologist and the father leading his family into the danger are one and the same. It is therefore unconvincing that he didn't make much use of his skills and specialised knowledge to recognise or respond to the storm conditions. And surely a meteorologist would check the forecast before heading out!

The film concentrated on the human dynamics arising from the recent marital breakup within the family, and how the relationships between the father's former and new partner develop as a result of them confronting adversity. This is an intriguing storyline, but it is rather undermined by the coincidence of his being the meteorologist.

This movie lacks sufficient spectacle to be an action movie. There are many shots of grey skies, housing estates, countryside, modern office buildings and cars being driven around in a safe manner which though laudable, does not contribute to an air of suspense. The preamble where the meteorologist presents his predictions to his boss and is rebuffed creates little drama as he does not suffer for long, but quickly decides to put rejection to good use and go on vacation. And he doesn't really gain the sympathies of the viewer as his office conditions appear to be very plush and uncluttered, suggesting no one in the organisation is putting too much effort or concern into their research.

While watching the movie the scientific basis for the super- lightning seemed unconvincing, but I was surprised when a brief search on the topic revealed that the "positive lightning" referred to does exist.

Overall, this isn't too exciting a movie, but I didn't see anything in it that would be beyond the scope of amateur movie makers, and shows just what could be done with the most limited of resources.
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