Continental Split Poster

Continental Split (2024) Review

For their new film, Continental Split, The Asylum focus on something that could tear the country apart. No, not the upcoming election, but a large fault line running through the Midwest that’s about to unleash the biggest earthquake in history.

Unfortunately, it stumbles out of the gate as a government geologist (Quintin Mims, NoHo: A North Hollywood Story, Christmas Down Under), investigating a newly formed lake, trades barbs with a local whose fishing in it. The problem, apart from the lazy and stereotyped dialogue delivered by both men, the lake is three months old, but the dock looks to have been there for decades.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter as a tremor promptly drops the lake, and the dock, into a huge sinkhole. It also opens one up in the streets of New Madrid, which almost swallows Eric (Crew Morrow, The Bold and the Beautiful) and Brenda (Roxanne G.C. Brooks, Road to the Well, The Snow is Always Whiter).

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Up the road a ways, Eric’s mother Dr. Cami Weddle (Jessica Morris, Murder Syndicate, My Doctor’s Secret Life) is trying to track the tremors while arguing with Eric’s sister Emily (Allison Gold, Monster & Me, The Cheerleader) who wants to go live with her father Alan (Chris Bruno, 5 Headed Shark Attack, Jade) because “He can get me a job that pays real money.”

If all of this sounds familiar, it should. Continental Split begins like The Asylum’s greatest hits, with a litany of familiar plot points. It will come as no surprise that Cami and Alan split up because she wants to save the planet, and he runs half the fracking plants in the state, and guess what is causing these new quakes? Can they put aside their differences long enough to save the continent and their marriage? I think we all know the answer to that.

Now there actually is a major fault line in the Midwest, the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and it has been mostly quiet since a series of quakes in 1811 and 1812 that allegedly made the Mississippi River flow backwards. So there is some actual science involved in Continental Split, something of a rarity for this company.

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Sadly, it’s quickly buried in a ton of pseudoscience, and a soap opera worthy love triangle between Cami, Alan and Cami’s colleague/boyfriend Finn (Canyon Prince, Timecop: The Berlin Decision, Fortress) who has just proposed to her. And, as if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a villainous rival Earthquake expert right out of Twister, who plans to stop the quakes by detonating a warhead on the fault line.

Director Nick Lyon (On Fire, Christmas in Vienna) and writers Gil Luna (Population 2 the Director’s Cut, Attack on Titan) and Joe Roche (Attack of the Meth Gator, Alien Conquest) do give the viewer the requisite number of quake scenes for one of these films, but they’re a very mixed bag. Scenes like the lake being swallowed by a sinkhole look good.

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But after a quake conveniently strikes as characters argue with the governor to take decisive action, the scenes of cars calmly driving past CGI destruction are more likely to provoke laughter than anything. A later scene of floodwaters racing towards a city look even worse.

By the time Continental Split reaches its sappy, Hallmark Channel worthy ending, I was ready to split as well. There was the potential for an interesting film lurking in the script, but it’s never developed. And the filmmakers take the easy way out of most situations. Coupled with careless filmmaking, a map that’s supposed to show the fault zone is obviously one of California, for example, and you have another disaster film that is anything but earthshaking.

Continental Split is available to stream on Tubi.

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