Film Review: NYC Tornado Terror!

Look at the box art. That tidal wave doesn’t happen. Why do they insist on doing that! However, this fun and hammy TV movie isn’t too bad. It has decent pacing for a Tornado movie, keeps the thrills coming and has one of the best deaths by electrocuction I’ve seen for a while!

The Premise

Little tornadoes or dust devils as they’re called start appearing in New York City and rapidly spiral out of control resulting in a collection of electrically charged tornadoes ripping riot everywhere.

The Disasters Faced

Tornadoes (lots of), electrically charged buildings (lots of), being tied to a swing (a few) and getting stuck under the fallen Statue of Liberty (just the one of those please).

The Execution

For what is a recent made for TV affair, its refreshing to see things aren’t a three hour slow water tredding “epic” and a nicely scaled 90 minute movie. This means most of the padding is gone and we’re straight into the action. The science is always wobbly in these movies and everyone always wants to set of a nuke somewhere and then stare at laptops with charts and massively bold countdown timers that flash and beep but apart from that all is well.

Acting wise, this is above par. Nicole De Boer is always a pleasure to have on screen and delivers her cardboard character with enough emotion and clout to make a difference, as does Sebastian Spence her husband who does naff all in the first half of the film before waking up in the second half to help save the day. Others around the main duo do a decent enough job apart from the whiny daughter whos twisted her ankle and struggles to go on with life.

Elsewhere the production values show a bit more. Effects are passable but not convincing, sets are kept quite minimal and there’s a lack of scope in general. However a relatively tight direction and pace save the film from becoming drivel.

The Effects

As mentioned before, the effects aren’t fab (TV movie). Some of the quick fire tornando sequences include laughable deaths of nameless people being quickly sucked away looking very superimposed on the screen. Other’s such a the electricity sparking off the walls and floors are much better. Sometimes you just can’t beat a good wind machine so it’s good that gets turned on a lot. The most dissapointing bit was perhaps where a ball of electricity floats around the room and kills a lady. Very b-movie!

Why It’s Worth Watching

Tight direction, tight screentime, tight acting. Dodgy effects. The fact that this film kills animals (I know!). Infact this film is rather bloodthirsty which is always enjoyable. It’s quite inventive with different ways to bump people off. There’s also nothing really heleriously wrong with it either which places it firmly in the “TV Movie I could watch almost properly” section.

Best Death

There’s a few in contention but my best death goes to Lucy, the assistant who trips up while everyone tries to clamber down some electrified stairs and is shown being fried before blasting off the wall and tumbling down the stairs. In a deliciously sick turn of events, she’s still alive and twitching sending a security guard to run to her aid only to touch her and fry himself and finish her off in the process infront of the rest of the survivors. Fantastic!

Favourite Character

Characters don’t really get to shine here but apart from Lucy being generally nice (and therefore a death certainty) Nicole De Boer’s leading lady act is rather good.

Weirdest Moment

When a localised Tornado strikes at some dogs tied to swing, how do they all manage to slip out of their leads and fly up into the clouds?! Surely some magicians would pay top dollar for that kind of information!

Conclusion

Far from fantastic, far from diabolic, NYC Tornado Terror is a serviceable TV disaster movie. It is pulled above its average dregs by the fact it cut the fat from the running time and hired a set of decent actors who captivate the screen. If you see this cheap or on the tele, grab some snacks and enjoy!

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