Directed by: Herbert James Winterstern
Distributed by: Saban Films
Written by Nick McCann
Disaster movies have their place in history, whether as hits in the pre-blockbuster 70s or marking the advancement of special effects technology in the 90s. Although a few spring up on occasion, the simple allure of on-screen destruction mostly falls onto video or streaming now. Albeit with a fraction of the talent, resources, and enjoyability as those put out in theaters.
“Supercell” only adds to that fall from grace. While you shouldn’t expect a deep storyline from this sub-genre, what this film tries to do is laughably melodramatic and derivative. It basically rips off “Twister” by way of a pitiful attempt at a Steven Spielberg vibe. There is quite a bit of effort to add weight and emotion to a situation that’s straight-up corny and poorly communicated. Instead of tugged heartstrings it simply induces eye rolls.
The characters leading this charge are one-dimensional and uninteresting. Unless they are a recognizable name, you won’t give a damn if a tornado sucks them up. Skeet Ulrich makes out fairly okay on his performance. Given the low-budget environment, there is some degree of sincerity in his presence. Alec Baldwin also hams it up, and the late Anne Heche also gives it her best. There’s only so much in the role for her to do though.
If you’re at least looking for tornado action, there is a pathetic amount of it here. Save for a mildly underwhelming finale set piece, it’s mostly gazing at storm clouds or watching twisters from miles away. All the action is too stale to rack up any intensity. Instead, the cheap-looking visual effects constantly give away how fake it all is, especially some choppy greenscreen shots that feel massively disconnected from everything. And no amount of John Williams ripoff score can make this feel any more magical or exciting.
If you’ve checked out of disaster cinema already, this definitely won’t be the one to pull you back. A lack of sound technical resources combined with high amounts of unoriginal concepts and styles make for a classic definition of bargain bin trite (even with a respectable tribute to a fallen artist).