Is it Stonehenge Apocalypse or Foamhenge Acrapalpyse? There was a spell in the late 2000s when it was all the rage to tap into the 2012 end of the world Mayan myths. Stonehenge Apocalypse was one of the first on the bandwagon to make a fool out of itself. It is so bad that it is good again.
The disasters faced
Foamhenge, a lot of butchered British accents, volcanoes, electromagnetic discharges and your run of the mill end of the world cult sporting a variety of comedy hair.
Jacob is an ex-scientist turned conspiracy theorist running a rather oversubscribed radio station. Why anyone calls in to enjoy his bored and condescending replies I don’t know. His callers make him aware of an electromagnetic incident at Stonehenge. We get to see this incident in all its comedic pant-wetting glory. It is everything low budget sci-fi TV makes us live for.
Jacob pops on a plane to the UK and gets caught snooping around. However, he may actually be of use to the scientists baffled at what is going on at the site. Kaycee seems to think his work on energy lines may make some sense as he has plotted ancient sites that are blowing up into volcanoes. Dr. Trousdale thinks he is a nutter and sides with General Forshaw for working at a scientific explanation. This comes to a head when data guru Marla works out that Stonehenge is counting down to something – but what?
From here the film splits into two. Trousdale, Marla, Forshaw and scientist David work at Stonehenge – looking at monitors and getting angry. Jacob and Kaycee take Major Peatman back to America on an artefact quest!
It is here where the lines between a disaster movie and sci-fi chase movie start to blur. The movie switches gears as the American crew battle to steal the artefact from Joseph and his cult of followers. He used to work with Jacob but is now evil and wants the world to be cleansed anew. He plans to resurrect a secret pyramid to keep his cult safe when the world ends. Hmm…
Meanwhile back at the Henge, our rocky site is now classified as a weapon of destruction (oh America) and now it is going to be nuked! There is also a defect to Joseph’s camp here too in some of the least surprising reveals committed to film.
Can Jacob and Kaycee get the artefact and then get back to the UK in time before the 40-hour countdown ends? Will there be anyone left alive to keep Stonehenge safe until then? Grab your snacks – it is a crazy ride.
Why is it worth watching?
This film is determined to entertain you. It just doesn’t have the budget nor the script to do so. This means that it over-reaches in that TV movie that can’t fashion. The effects are far from good and the overuse of shaky cam and filming at a 30-degree tilt cam is telling.
I also feel like everyone decided that camp was the only way to get through the film shoot sane. Some of the line delivery is cued up for a laughter track or a slap on the thigh. Sometimes I expected Jacob to wink at the camera. It also feels like it desperately wants to be a budget Mummy style film as well in terms of tone but it doesn’t have the set up to make it work. In the end, it all crashes down in a strange mash-up of genres and feels. There are a few 2012 Mayan inspired films like this over a 3-4 year period and they all feel a little odd.
The campness does mean that some characters are funny though. Dr. Trousdale is so posh English, he just needed a teacup and doily and he’d have been right at home in a Carry On film. David telegraphs his facial emotions like a manic clown. Jacob looks like he wants to laugh half the time. Only Kaycee (Torri Higginson) and Forshaw (Michael Kospa) try to keep some dramatic gravitas. That then feels funny because they aren’t being over the top. All in all, its a joyous car crash to watch – even though you can see everyone tried and gave their best.
The foamhenge’s moving around scene is just so surreal – I give top marks to whoever envisaged that. It’s so funny to watch as well. There’s one scene where Angkor explodes into a volcano and also another where the Pyramids turn into mechanisms and detonates but it is over so quickly using CGI that could have come from a late PlayStation 1 game you’ve barely time to take it all in. In fact, the effects shots are very sparse throughout and all feature large orange lava blobs. Most of the money is spent on getting sets yoinked from various other SyFy channel backlots it seems! We see the same electromagnetic shots over and over too.
Also, I want to make a special shoutout to whoever designed the UI of the computer screens. It is all in Windows 95 with a weird Greek theme that makes no sense at all. I then saw the same colours and designs at the American museum later on…
The cast of characters are fun and entertaining because they are so regimented into their plot specific roles. No one has any character progression. People don’t even character traits or catchphrases unless you count ‘I said a robot head!’ I do want to give a shout out to Dolores Drake who absolutely milks the opening scene as the tour guide. Seeing the camera pan around her as she b-movie screams and then runs very slowly away from Stonehenge is meme gold. Go girl!
Scientist? My Aunt Fanny!’
Dr. Trousdale (possibly also explaining the science of the film too)
Three memorable moments
- That opening scene at Henge – it is cult classic film making!
- The background extras of the cult including a man that looks like the lead singer of the Wizard Christmas song.
- ‘Top of the Morning to ya fellas!’ – for being an American trying to be funny but we’re in England and not Ireland…
The obligatory weird moment
Spoilers ahead. The end baddie just doesn’t work at all. After having the main baddie bumped off earlier on, we then have to endure one of the strangest and ill-matched chase sequences between Jacob and David. My other issue is with the nuke. It drops and is absorbed by Stonehenge. This is exactly what we were told would cause the end of the world but everyone is fine because the machine was turned off… or was it? It is so poorly put together, you just don’t know. Sigh. All that effort watching it for a weird obscure conclusion.
The drinking game
The word “electromagnetic” is said 26 times during this movie. Yay science! Now… for 26 shots!
Stonehenge Apocalypse isn’t the worst disaster movie (or best depending on your view) but its premise is comedy gold. The opening five minutes shows you the best part of the film. The rest is entertaining for a myriad of good and bad reasons. It has that cult appeal of being so camp, so off the wall and so silly that it has its own charm and character. It’s the kind of film you pull out for Awful Movie Club and it’ll do well. A minor cult classic.
Rating: 0 / 5 – So Bad Its Good (1 or 5 depending on taste)
If you liked Stonehenge Apocalpyse then you may like…
- 2012 Doomsday – Similar in style chase around the monuments disaster countdown
- 2012– Mayan calendar run away from the CGI-fest.
- 12 Days of Disaster – A Christmas themed disaster movie of similar camp silliness.
This review was updated on 21/04/20 to reflect the new review format for I Love Disaster Movies.