The Asylum’s latest film, 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse dispenses with the usual buildup and gets right to the point. The world is in the midst of unprecedented storms, volcanic activity and locust swarms. They’re so bad the world will be destroyed in 12 hours if something isn’t done to stop it. And all General Norriss (Dominique Swain, Rottentail, For Jennifer) knows is that the epicentre is somewhere in Brazil. Luckily for her Sgt. Irv Shockley (Bridger Buckley) and Major Oakley Jones (Eric St. John, Isle of the Dead, The Rebels of PT-218) are already in the area so they can become the security detail for the team of experts she’s sending to deal with it.
Vulcanologist Dr. Lynise Hughes (Arie Thompson, War of the Worlds: Annihilation, The Wrong Valentine), meteorologist Dakota Lenna (Eva Ceja, Aquarium of the Dead, Titanic 666) and microbiologist Elliot Rodney (Brandon Alan Smith, Brawl in Cell Block 99, The Amityville Harvest) are all experts in their fields. But is that enough to stop a disaster of biblical proportions?
As soon as Dr. Hughes arrives in Brazil she asks Major Jones if he’s a man of faith, when he replies that he is she tells him “Good, we’re going to need it.” That, along with the Book of Revelations themed plot suggests that 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse is The Asylum’s attempt to tap into the part of the faith-based film market that loves films like the Left Behind franchise.
It also doesn’t hurt that by invoking God and His mysterious ways they’ve eliminated the need to come up with any real explanation for what’s going on. Just put it all down the God’s will and get on with the destruction. Unfortunately, for a film about the end of the world, 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse Is fairly light on apocalyptic scenes.
There’s the usual news footage of wars, floods rioting etc. under the credits but once the film actually starts most of the time is taken up by everyone wandering around the California scrublands, which look nothing like the Brazilian rainforest, talking about how serious the situation is and hoping that saving the world is in God’s plan. Even by Asylum standards the first hour of 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse is dull and talky.
As is usually the case with Asylum films the last half hour does manage to pick up the pace. One character becomes possessed, a lake starts spitting out glowing explosive blobs and a swarm of locusts attacks a helicopter that just happened to be sitting around a junkyard ready to fly. But even during the locust attack, there are more interior shots of people talking about it than shots of the CGI bugs. By this point, you’re probably wondering if since 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse is so low on apocalyptic content if it actually delivers any horsemen. Yes, they make a couple of blink and you’ll miss it appearances in the final fifteen minutes.
Director Geoff Meed (Asteroid-a-Geddon, The Amityville Haunting) and his co-writers Lauren Pritchard (Moon Crash, Robotapocalypse) and Joe Roche (Devil’s Triangle, Battle for Pandora) not only waste a potentially interesting idea they really just seem to be going through the motions and filling ninety minutes of screen time. There’s no attempt to create a coherent plot or keep the film from dragging before the final act. And even that lacks the kind of payoff that could even partially redeem 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse.
But it looks like, beyond some of the cast, nobody put any effort into 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse on any level. Dominique Swain’s character is referred to as General in the film but is listed as Colonel Noriss in the credits. A radio outpost in the middle of the rainforest suddenly has cars appearing in its parking lot. If the makers don’t care enough to clean up continuity errors like those it’s a good sign the audience doesn’t need to care about the film either.
The Asylum released 4 Horsemen: Apocalypse to theatres, a whole five of them, at the end of April. It’s currently available on Digital and VOD platforms with DVD availability scheduled for May 29th. If you’re looking for a more fitting end to the world, FilmTagger may have what you’re looking for.