This film is categorized as an action disaster thriller to which I both agree and disagree, considering the fact that despite the film relying heavily on its intensity and suspense, was basically a road trip story following the dullest characters possible amidst a disaster. The plot follows Will (Theo James), lawyer and boyfriend to Samantha (Kat Graham) who is pregnant with his child. Determined to get the blessing of Sam’s parents, Will goes to Chicago where he has a not so friendly encounter with Sam’s father, Tom (Forest Whitaker). Tom and Will have a heated argument which leaves Will debating the prospect of even considering to mention his intentions to marry Samantha. Calling his girlfriend the next day, Will is in the middle of a conversation with her when plot thickens, forcing the conversation to end with Sam expressing fear just as the line cuts off.
Naturally, Will immediately wishes to return to Seattle but at the airport all the flight are canceled with the news reporting that an earthquake has hit the west coast of the U.S. Returning to Tom and his wife’s home, Will informs them of the sudden events and they notice fighter jets passing through. And thus our road trip begins with Tom deciding to get to Sam via car to which he allows Will to tag along. The world is suddenly falling apart with natural disasters and people were quick to steal from each other as Tom and Will are approached by thieves that forces Tom to pull out a gun. Tom, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, gets past security blocking the interstate who informs them that they are on their own as loss of electricity means a loss of communication and support.
They encounter more thieves and criminals which eventually results in Tom fracturing his ribs. Concerned over their run down vehicle, they offer a mechanic they meet two thousand dollars to have her accompany them as their at-hand mechanic in case the car breaks down throughout the trip to which she agrees, because why not, right? Her presence doesn’t last long as she eventually snaps at them, railing her regret for joining them after the constant danger and deaths she has witnessed and leaves them to continue their journey. Tom later dies from his broken ribs, leaving Will to finish alone with him covering Tom and the car with gas and burning it. Seattle is nearly completely disappeared with earthquakes continue every so often, but after finding his apartment, he sees Sam had left him an address where he rushes to reunite with her.
To my complete shock, Sam was really there when Will arrives and she tells him that Jeremiah, the neighbor, helped her get away during the danger. The two have sexy times later that night and the next day Will notices Jeremiah looking through Will’s car, leaving him suspicious of the man. Jeremiah attempts to kill Will, saying he though Will was dead and believed Sam had a bond with him, but Will was prepared and immediately killed him. Disaster ensues and Will and Sam are last seen driving away from a cloud of fire, the two kiss and say their goodbyes, and as they drive the clouds seem to slow down enough for them to escape.
I don’t know where to begin with this film, it was story not even Theo James and Forest Whitaker could save. Will and Tom were a means of putting realistic people in a terrifying natural disaster, but all it did was create brief moments of tension that were not enough to keep me completely entertained or even committed to these characters. Ricki, the mechanic was an opportunity to have a character push character development and there definitely were moments of that especially the scene in which Ricki and Will have a heart-to-heart conversation, but it was instantly made awkward with the too long silence they had staring at each other.
Tom, the paranoid veteran, was Will’s wake up call to harden up if he wishes to make it back to Sam, but the two never appeared to form a relationship until the moments leading up to Tom’s death in which the two laugh over a story involving a drunken boat accident. The moment is honestly very genuine and made me feel for Will when he realizes he must get to Sam alone. Tom presents himself as a man that holds no trust for no one and when he has Will and Ricki with him, he makes it vocal that he doesn’t want to have any interactions with strangers, including friends of Will’s. It isn’t evident what Tom’s relationship was with his wife as he did, after all, easily leave her behind and doesn’t even seem to mention her when he realizes the extent of these natural disasters.
Despite not having much screen time, Jeremiah was a character of interest, mostly for his existence seeming unnecessary in the first place. He gives his own input on what he thinks is happening, explaining his theory that this is all a war based on his knowledge of war simulations that he finds similar to what is happening. Will becomes very hostile hearing this which I assumed was him feeling angered over Jeremiah’s attitude about the subject, but it simply came off as Will getting nasty towards a genuine thought over the situation. Also, Jeremiah has the hots for Sam and takes Will into the woods where he plans to kill him. Gee, now why does that look familiar? Maybe because that is exactly what happens in the Walking Dead! Jeremiah pulled a Shane and it made absolutely no sense, this character had no development and was only noted for having crazy eyes over the fire pit at night.
The film had its moments that kept me on the edge of my seat and I especially found the cinematography beautiful, but I was disappointed with the overall result of the film and wished it would have so much more with these characters and settings. The ending was a cheap shot as it had me demanding for a sequel just to understand what the hell I just witnessed. I never thought I would want a sequel, knowing full well that I would be in for disappointment. All in all, this film is not something I would recommend to anyone and if a sequel is in future plans, then I will likely watch in the hopes that the ending of this one is made clear.