*Spoiler Free* (you nards).
Full disclosure: I watched two-thirds of this movie on the shitter, blasting into the Denver wastewater system two El Monterrey frozen burritos that have been sustaining/killing me during the COVID-19 event. So, you know, I was hate-shitting while watching a movie in which I had an inkling of hope, hope that it wouldn’t do to me what those delicious, flour-wrapped beef and green chile torpedoes have been doing to my precious colon. Speaking of events, I watched a “movie” called Impact Event and, as is becoming my modus operandi — and considering the context in which I watched it — I shall once again apply the patented Lycra Bustier Shit Sandwich Method of Review Writing, guaranteed to find the best in the worst without being a complete dick.
To sum up for the 5,999,999,998 people who haven’t already seen this, Impact Event is a low-budget flick about a group of wackadoos trying their worst to survive an extinction-level event caused by a meteor that impacts the Earth and supposedly kills everything, including bacteria. But mostly it just bathes the Earth in an Instagram filter, which, considering we’re living in the midst of a very real pandemic at the moment, seems pretty okay to me. The group, led by poor man’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan, holes up in a redneck haunted house a la House of 1000 Corpses and eventually have to fend off a band of escaped prison inmates scavenging for supplies. They succeed at this, using the haunted house to disorient the invaders (and the viewers) with a near constant blast of strobe lights, cutting them down one hackneyed, overacted gunshot at a time. Whoops, spoiled it.
Okay, so Impact Event is nothing if not sincere, and anyone who’s had the displeasure of reading one of my reviews, knows that sincerity is the most important quality I can find in any movie, good, bad, or utterly shite. The director, B. Luciano Barsuglia, is trying to make something he thinks is entertaining and tells a story to which we can all relate. He TOTALLY did not succeed at his goal, but, as I said, I can respect sincerity. To give some relativity, a movie I would not consider to be sincere would be something like Atlantic Rim, which was a telegraphed attempt at capitalizing on major studio releases; or even shit like the Scary Movie franchise, which has no heart whatsoever.
Included in this delicious top slice of praise is the fact that the director was able to nab three fairly big names to act in his movie. Presumably this was done to secure funding and drive up sales, something filmmakers have been doing since Edison electrocuted that elephant on camera, so I excuse it as a necessary part of the grind. What names, pray tell? Well, Michael Berryman, the mutant biker from Weird Science worried about losing his teaching job; Vernon Wells, the Aussie Freddy Mercury who donned chainmail and 50 extra pounds to fight Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando; and Richard Fucking Grieco, whose looks can kill. They had very minor roles but it was nice to see them working and being cool with their circumstances.
So, to sum: good job on sincerity, good job on securing mid-shelf B actors.
Christ where do I begin? No, seriously, I’m asking Jesus, the sandal-wearing Jew from Galilee who just wanted us to be excellent one another, where do I begin. Nothing? Okay, I guess there’re still some cosmic mysteries even that guy can’t suss.
Okay, for one this movie, more than its shitty acting and Birdemic-quality cinematography, commits one of the greatest crimes in art: it tells instead of shows. What the fuck am I on about here? You should all have learned in English composition that good writers show their readers something rather than telling them. For example, you damned philistines, if I were a bad writer I would write “Bob was a fat man who smelled like egg salad.” I just told you two key points about Bob and completely blew the diagesis (Google it, you turds). If I were a good writer (and I fucking am), I’d write “Bob sat down, his effort palpable, the chair groaning and straining as he alit. Susan winced and breathed through her mouth, subduing the inevitable gag.” While not concise, I painted a picture that doesn’t just hurl facts at you like some sort of big, fat, smelly fact-hurling thing (fine, I’m an okay writer).
There’re several scenes where the director just lets his actors talk at one another, revealing facts that could otherwise just be shown in context. Probably the worst example is when the gang is sitting outside their ersatz shelter and four actors ask questions about the shelter and poor man’s Negan just answers them like he’s being interviewed by a high school newspaper reporter. He just hurls facts about the shelter and its systems, contents, and supplies for a solid 8 minutes. It was like watching a 1950s educational film about how to prepare for an atomic war: I learned a lot about the shelter and how they’d prepared for the apocalypse, but I was bored out of my fucking skull. They could have easily just said, “hey, we’re prepared” and then introduced aspects of the shelter in context, as needed over the course of the movie.
Show, don’t tell.
Also, listen, there’s a lot more shit in this flick: crappy, stilted acting; matter-of-fact writing that reads like stereo instructions; lazy editing…
But that’s about as interesting to lampoon as shooting cross-eyed carp in a leaky barrel of Kroger-brand Mountain Dew.
So if that top slice compliments this movie’s sincerity and the shit decried, among other things, its frustrating predilection for telling, what in the hell could this bottom slice of praise possibly relate? Well, I like to reserve this slice for calling out specific points that made me go “oh, well, that’s nice” or “hey, okay, pretty good” or “well, there ya go.” In other words: things I expected to not exist in a movie I’d find at the bottom of a DVD bin at Walgreens.
For one, I though the inclusion of an actor with a hearing disability was admirable. What’s more is that her disability wasn’t mocked, called-out, or otherwise made painfully self-aware. Granted, I’m calling it out now, but it’s because you just don’t see many hearing impaired actors in movies wherein their impairment isn’t the focus. Also, I appreciated the mildly amusing opening credits scene featuring brief testimonials of what folks expecting an apocal–er, impact event–might do with their final moments. Finally, I’m a sucker for haunted houses, dark rides, and those tubes that spin while you try to walk from one end to the other, and this movie is rife with elements from all three. Had this just been a Travel Channel-style tour of the haunted house/shelter guided by Richard Fucking Grieco, this review would be all bread and no shit.
As always, watch it or don’t. I’m going to continue talking to my cat, shitting my guts out, and reminiscing about human contact.