Mega Lightning (2022) Review
Not content with unleashing a Firenado on viewers, producer Scott Jeffrey (The Rise of the Beast, Amityville Scarecrow) has followed it up with Mega Lightning. Writer Tom Jolliffe (Renegades, Scarecrow’s Revenge) once again provides the script, with David Gregory (Krampus: The Return, Curse of Bloody Mary) stepping in to direct. Firenado was a disaster of the enjoyable kind, can they make the lighting strike twice?
The film opens with a pair of photographers finding their excitement at getting pictures of a growing storm that may become “the biggest natural disaster in history” get severely diminished when they start being chased by lightning bolts. One ends up vaporized, the other swallowed by a sinkhole the bolts cause to open up.
Elsewhere, Johan (Richard Kovacs, Lockerbilly, The Gardener) offers a stranded motorist a ride. When she wisely declines, he chloroforms her and tosses her in the trunk. You didn’t think this was just going to be about a storm, did you?
In the midst of all this, Meg (May Kelly, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Alice, Through the Looking) and some of her friends are planning to party as soon as her parents leave on vacation. I mean, if the biggest storm in history isn’t a reason to party, what is?
As it turns out, comparing Firenado and Mega Lightning is something of an apples and oranges situation. As I understand it, both were commissioned by distributors, who gave Jeffrey an outline and a budget. Firenado was made for Uncork’d Entertainment, not exactly a big budget outfit. This film however was produced for ITN who make Uncork’d look like Paramount by comparison.
The difference is obvious almost from the start with some terrible lightning effects and a sinkhole swallowing a car with what would, in any other film, be the worst effect on view. Here it takes a distant second to someone exploding, yes exploding, after being struck by some of that mega lightning. It looks like an animated GIF from the early days of the web.
It also means that the script seems to be composed of scenes that could be shot fast and cheaply, whether or not they made a lot of sense. This means Meg’s parents try to travel in the storm and her mother (Gillian Broderick, Alive, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey) ends up taking refuge at Johan’s house, someone gets zapped after refusing to get out of a hot tub, and after Meg and her boyfriend Sean (Elliott Eason, Easter Bunny Massacre: The Bloody Trail, Vampire Flies) go to rescue her mother we even get some swordplay.
Tom Jolliffe stitches all of this together with the seriousness you would expect from a film that also features lightning bolts that use people’s body heat to target them and a psychopath who talks like he just stepped out of a Shakespearean play. Capped off with some enthusiastic scene chewing by Kovacs in the role, and you have a cheerfully WTF film.
That makes Mega Lightning’s horrible effects a bigger shame because with even competent effects this could have been the kind of film that helped win The Asylum a cult following. Enjoyably silly, with effects that qualify as “good enough”. Conversely, if they all had been on the level of the sinkhole and exploding boyfriend Mega Lightning might have worked as a parody.
Instead, it ends up drifting somewhere in the middle. Absurdly entertaining enough to keep me watching, but never truly satisfying either, although a few edibles could probably change that.
ITN has released Mega Lightning on Digital platforms, including Tubi in North America. It’s scheduled for a March 2nd release in the UK. If you’re looking for more films like this, FilmTagger can suggest a few.