I think if you were to ask people what type of disaster they would want to be in, earthquakes would probably rank as number one. They come up fast, do a little shaking and it's over.
Unlike a tornado when you get the warning and then have to wait.
But unfortunately, we've seen the premise for this movie time and time again, only with a different disaster.
In the early morning hours of January 17, 1994, young Molly Dunn (Allison Adams) is busy outside working on her science project when the Northridge earthquake hits and kills her father.
Forward fast into the twenty first century and adult Molly (Jhey Castles) is a discredited seismologist teaching at Pacific Coast College (somewhere near Malibu) and six months earlier, planted sensors all along the San Andreas fault in the hope of being able to predict earthquakes.
Anyway, she's having coffee one day after class when one of her students Nick (Jason Woods) interrupts her and wants his grade changed. As they argue, Molly receives an alert from one of the sensors and tries to warn the others that a quake is about to happen.
She manages to get everyone out and after a minute with nothing happening, everyone goes about their way when- the quake strikes.
Molly's ecstatic and calls her pilot husband Hank (Lane Townsend) who confers that he and his passengers did notice the rockslide.
Well, the data comes in and now Molly can begin to predict the quakes which start off as swarms.
During the first tremor, a light pole crashes onto her car and she has Nick drive her downtown so that she can save her stepdaughter Ali (Grace Van Dien) from the upcoming shaker.
Of course Ali blows her off while she's attending to the needs of the boutique hotel guests.
As Nick and Molly head into the city, she has him drive backroads since the freeways will be crowded and along the way, they have to fight against CGI swallowing cracks and are car jacked.
California still does some moderate shaking, but now everyone knows that an estimated 12.0 is about to hit within the hour and just like that, Los Angeles is evacuated.
But before you think it's all over, Ali has to get elderly couple The Lowenstein's (Elaine Partnow and Robert Evans) out of the building and into the safety of the National Guardsmen.
As with every elderly disaster couple (they're celebrating their anniversary by the way) they decide to stay behind as Molly and Nick are suffocating in the tunnels of the city.
Throughout their harrowing experience, Molly keeps telling Nick that she's not going to change his grade, even as they gasp their last few breaths.
What I found funny about the movie is hotel guest Arnold Kaplan (the actor isn't listed on IMDB- I wonder why) is worried about the hotel collapsing, yet Ali knows that it's been retrofitted to withstand a 10.0 magnitude quake. I'm not in the hospitality business, but I wonder if that's the first thing you learn while working in a California ho/motel.
In reality, the whole movie could have been told through the newscasts of real life reporter, Ron Jantz, since he does get an awful lot of screen time.
Anyway, if you want to make your Disaster Porn Saturday Night into a double feature, Castles also stars in Apocalypse Pompeii.