Some made for TV movies are just pure tat that never really get going and struggle to be recommended for any real reason. “Terror Peak” pretty much fits into this category. It doesn’t quite know what it wants to be until the final act and by then you’ve all fallen asleep waiting… nonetheless… here’s the full review!
Released : 2003
Runtime : 96 minutes
Divorced newlyweds Janet & Kevin decide to take a working vacation looking at tour operators in New Zealand, trying them out before offering funding to help make more profit for them and their selves. However they’ve come to Extreme Mountain (oh dear) with Janet’s grumpy daughter just in time for the volcano to erupt. God job Janet’s an ex volcanologist huh?
The Disasters Faced
Volcanic eruption, ash clouds, lava, steam (oh no!) and a ancient Maori lady who sings at you in the woods at random intervals.
Maybe most of the budget was spent on getting Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) on-board because at no point was anything spent on the special effects, the built sets or rehearsals for acting. From the bizarre range of New Zealand, Irish and American accents that all seem to waiver (especially the Irishman’s) to the cave’s that have full lighting in them underground without lights to the fact that to try and slow desperation the slow-mo the action and shake the camera or drop it to the floor and shake it – you can tell this is very low budget and a lot of corners needed to be cut.
Also a must have for all TV disaster movies – extreme sports – seems to take up a vast quantity of the first half, with Woman Woman screaming at everything in sight from rock slides to light switches, taking up the rest of the first half. Plot devices such as “aaah my ankle… I can’t walk” get people stuck, only to see them running away from what appears to be someones drawing of tomato soup aka lava, a minute later. It’s all so cheap and ropey. Sometimes this makes for a good movie, but Terror Peak for me didn’t go quite silly enough to make it enjoyable again and therein lies my problem with the film. It takes itself a bit too seriously but doesn’t execute anything properly to back it up.
The volcano is actually showed in stills the whole time with drawn on lava bombs coming out at the very end. The camera shaking for tremors would work if objects in the scene would move with the camera but everything stays still. The whole slow-motion camera wiggle that the film dips in and out of is embarrassing – the worst one being a “rock fall” actually being someone throwing two clumps of mud at the camera – but in slow motion with the camera shaking. Just… no! Lava is orange according to this film too, and when it drips on you, you’re fine as long as you place a jumper over your head.
Why It’s Worth Watching
Well, its a stretch granted, but there is an interesting sub story about Maori people and their beliefs on volcanoes and the like which was quite unique to bring to a disaster movie. Instead however of going at in intelligently, everyone wants to scream and run away from the chanting granny and then the movie tries to pretend she’s a ghost which is just plain silly. Also reasons to watch the movie are to laugh at how bad the Irish accent of Patrick gets and just how pathetically hopeless the emotionally unstable daughter gets as she injures herself and/or cries in about 95% of all the scenes she’s in and I promise you I’m not overestimating that guess. Yes the girl cries very well but the director must have had a bad few weeks in order to make her cry all the way through a volcanic eruption.
Also for what its worth, the final 10 minutes of the disaster is actually quite passable indeed.
Apart from the not-a-ghost Maori woman, the “comedic” duo of Patrick and Rangi worked well together as ex business partners who now can’t stand the sight of each other.
There is only one death and he’s at the very beginning so he wins the award by basically coughing a lot trying to escape toxic gases but just taking so long about it he collapses and instead of just choking to death – just conks out.
Oh look – the daughter is crying. Again. Someone get me a whaaaaambulance.
Despite the entire place being decimated by a volcano, the leading guy Kevin actually then decides to invest in the area as a tourist opportunity. Yes, everyone wants to invest in a company that crashed their car twice in one journey, burnt their daughter, nearly drowned her abseiling and then when they’re in a helicopter they run out of fuel, the hydraulics blow and it catches fire causing them to make an emergency landing. Has the guy not heard of risk assessments?!
“Terror Peak” despite Lynda Carter’s best efforts, just isn’t entertaining enough to justify proper entertainment, and not quite awful enough to be plain cringe-worthy or funny. Sure, there’s plenty to point and laugh at here, but I found myself rolling my eyes at the film for being far, far too obvious and safe and therefore the assets that it had get diluted and spoilt.