Film: Stonehenge Apocalypse **
Release Date: Out Now
Director: Paul Ziller
Starring: Misha Collins, Hill Harper, Torri Higginson, Michael Kopsa
Reviewer: Adam Wing
I don’t know what scares me the most about Stonehenge Apocalypse - the fact that the line “A nuclear attack on Stonehenge will destroy the entire planet” is used, or the fact that I actually quite enjoyed it. On the most primitive of levels of course. I say primitive, I’m trying to remain respected here. I actually enjoyed it because it really wasn’t that bad a movie, note the word usage however - ‘really wasn’t that bad a movie’. At no point did I state that it was a good movie, ok?
When a group of archaeologists dig up a human skeleton near the historical monument of Stonehenge, an ancient piece of machinery is discovered hidden beneath the ground. Not knowing what it could be, the workers accidentally trigger the mechanism and start a chain of events that could very well end the world as we know it.
Directed by Paul Ziller (I’ve never heard of him either), Stonehenge Apocalypse brings together a host of familiar, and not so familiar faces, from the small screen. Rogue scientist Jacob Glaser is brought to life by Misha Collins (angel Castiel in Supernatural), Peter Wingfield (Holby City, 24, X-Men II) plays Dr. John Trousdale, and Hill Harper (CSI: NY) takes on the role of born again bad guy Joseph Leshem. The one name that places Stonehenge Apocalypse at the tip of Syfy Channel’s illustrious TV movie pyramid is that of writer Brad Abraham, and perhaps we should give director Paul Ziller a little credit here too. Not to mention Misha Collins, but we’ll get to that part later.
I’ve seen a lot of bad movies lately, and Stonehenge Apocalypse isn’t one of them. Perhaps it was the fact that the entire cast took the whole production so seriously. Don’t forget, they’re working on a project called ‘Stonehenge Apocalypse’. I don’t care if it’s the worst movie ever made, with a title like that, nothing’s going to stop me from seeing it. I was expecting hammy acting, over-the-top performances and relentless implausibility. Some might argue that they hit the nail on the last part, but I’m talking about stupid people, people who don’t stay in enough and couldn’t possibly appreciate the concept of alien life forms - but in retrospect, I’m mostly talking about the people who don’t drink enough.
Misha Collins is a revelation in the leading role, so much so that I just added the entire Supernatural collection to my lovefilm rental queue - now that’s dedication. He’s helped by a winning script that provides classic line after classic line, including the likes of “what once created life on this planet, is about to wipe it out” and “ the death of this world will be the dawn of the next”. Stonehenge Apocalypse is the dictionary definition of apocalyptic prick tease. Every fifteen minutes or so somebody utters a line that keeps you on the edge of your seat, almost as though they're headed for a commercial break and a quick brew.
Credit must go to co-writers Brad Abraham and Paul Ziller for keeping me intrigued until the final credits rolled, I was barely able to keep my eyes off the screen, at least until I needed another refill - or the cat decided it was time to take a leak. That being said, Misha Collins really does deserve a better role than this - maybe there’s a guest spot on CSI: NY coming up in the fall?
Almost an hour goes by before events take a turn for Stupid Avenue, but the above-average acting will keep you hooked until the vague hope of alien invasion and death to all mankind desintegrates before your very eyes. It never quite happens of course, but what do you expect from a film with limited resources, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re watching the latest Steven Spielberg movie, okay?
If you’re watching Stonehenge Apocalypse you’re either a/ drunk. b/ watching late night television because you couldn’t get any, or c/ a poor, defenceless movie reviewer that doesn’t get paid but does at least get the opportunity to ignore his long-suffering girlfriend in the aid of warning others of impending doom. If you’re really lucky, you get to play the part of all three.
The effects are occasionally impressive (largely rubbish), and the acting is vastly superior to that of similar movies making the jump from late-night TV, but Stonehenge Apocalypse is stopped in its tracks by meagre funding and a viewer’s resilience to B-movie madness. Any movie that dares to utilise a rare ancient artefact, a rare ancient artefact that could quite possibly be the key to mankind’s very existence, as a destructive weapon ‘to the head’ is always worthy.
So lets be clear here - Stonehenge Apocalypse is an awesome movie from a certain point of view. You’ll usually find it hiding at the bottom of an empty wine glass. But I dare you to watch this movie, and believe me when I say it, if you’re not screaming “It was a robot head!” at the end of the films cataclysmically entertaining finale, I promise to swallow my corkscrew. Who am I kidding? Nobody uses corkscrews anymore.