STUDIO: RHI Entertainment
MSRP: $19.99
RUNNING TIME: 175 Minutes
Making A Splash – From Blue Screen To Silver Screen
Interviews With the Cast
Original Trailer

The Pitch:

The dire warning of The Day After Tomorrow collides with the sober realism of 24! If we let these waves hit our shores, the terrorists will win.

The Humans:

The Director: Bruce MacDonald

The Actors: Angus Macfadyen, Karine Vanasse, Louis Philippe Dandenault, John Robinson, Ellen David, Tom Skerritt

The Writers: Tedi Sarafian, William Gray, based on a story by Tedi Sarafian

I swear, it’s mostly soap!

The Nutshell:

Giant tidal waves are inexplicably hitting the Northeast US. So the government convenes an emergency panel of experts, who suspect these bizarre waves must be man-made. And it just so happens that experimental technology our hero (techno-thriller author and scientist John McAdams,) invented back in the day is exactly what could be triggering these murderous waves.

When strangers break into his house and frame him for the murder of his friend, McAdams becomes the target of the terrorist manhunt. But just who is responsible for these deaths and the waves? With the feds out to nab him and the real terrorists out there planning their next hit, John must jog against time, to uncover the truth no matter how high the conspiracy goes.

Gotta love Canada and their laid back censors.

The Lowdown:

When a DVD comes my way, completely under my radar, with a terribly cheesy premise, populated with only one recognizable name… Well, that is the definition of low expectations. In the case of Killer Wave, it’s a Canadian 2-part miniseries that I was not, um, expecting to enjoy on any meaningful level. Frankly, I am not a huge fan of the TV miniseries format. Regardless of how epic the premise might sound, most TV miniseries, always seem small and confined, rarely approaching the greatness that the medium has to offer, but often saddled with all the drawbacks.

What Killer Wave does offer is a somewhat diverting, if ultimately too generic take on the techno-thriller. Most noticeable is the influence from Kiefer Sutherland’s hit show, but instead of villainous foreigners and politicians, we have villainous corporations. Instead of nukes, poison gas and a lamp cord, we have the titular killer waves. Instead of Jack Bauer, we have a… meteorologist? geologist? (Actually, I’m not sure since McAdams’ specialty is apparently being a “brilliant mind.”) And instead of 24’s ludicrously forward-moving plotline, we have something more leisurely paced and much more realistic.

Killer Wave also heavily cribs from 24’s recognizable split screen technique, but since it doesn’t share in that show’s breakneck plotting, the urgent use of the split screen isn’t as apparent here. That’s not say there aren’t genuine moments of suspense; they just happen to occur mostly in the 3rd act of each evening’s broadcast. It’s this slack pacing and lack of originality that ultimately keeps Killer Wave from maintaining my excitement for over the 3 hours of its running time.

This is what we all came to see.

The script is utilitarian, offering up simple dialogue that rarely reaches into the depths of the bad (and in fact, it often does good enough to get its point across.) But it also remains largely unmemorable. Also, plot revelations play out as you would expect them to, and rarely was I surprised by what I was seeing. Making corrupt executives from Camtrell (read as: Halliburton) in the role of the bad guys is the film’s claim to lefty politics (on the other hand, faking tsunamis seems more like right-wing paranoia.) It’s also an obvious move and gives the plot an aura of inevitability. From that point on, the only question left to ask is how much moustache twirling will occur.

Thankfully, there is a minimum of that coming from the cast. Killer Wave has solid acting throughout, even if it’s a bit bland at times. Much like the script, the actors are playing it on the safe side. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously either, and so any time the cast can join in the fun, it works in the film’s favor. In fact, the filmmakers included a funny Spinal Tap-type gag where McAdams and a pair of feds get lost in an office. It is one of the few spontaneous moments in Killer Wave, and as a result it really sticks out. If there were more genuine bits of personality like it, I might have taken a stronger liking to the film.

Considering how Killer Wave rips two of the biggest headline grabbers (terrorism and global warming) and jams them into the thriller genre, I would have preferred it if the creators went all out and had the waves originate from the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine the horror of having terrorists use the earth against us, but this time, Mother Nature is Mexican. And she’s here illegally!

Nothing quite like getting pummeled in the face by Nazi überwomen.

The Package:

The picture quality is pretty good, showcasing some of the fancier shots in the film quite nicely. Not much here in the way of extras however, with 2 quick featurettes and the trailer. Given that the main feature is 3 hours, this is an acceptable lack of bonus materials.

6.9 out of 10