10.0 Earthquake (2014) Review

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Shaken not Stirred

10.0 Earthquake (2014): 7 out of 10: A series of mini quakes threaten the Los Angeles basin while a newly minted USGS scientist (Cameron Richardson) and a fracking engineer (Henry Ian Cusick) race to find a solution before the big one hits.

The Good

The Good: I have seen 10.0 Earthquake twice now have enjoyed it both times. I have had a really hard time describing exactly why I enjoyed it.

10.0 Earthquake has a myriad of issues (Some of which I document below.) It does seem like an Asylum film in terms of budget and subject, but there was something very non-Asylum about it. Eventually I figured it out. 10.0 Earthquake has a pretty good script and solid acting across the board.

The disaster is a bunch of very localised earthquakes triggered by fracking. The result is a bunch of vignettes where the film visits a location (surfer at beach, quinceanera at park, chainsaw wielding tree trimmer on a tree). After a quick establishing shot, that location has minor earthquake happen. People die, explode, get swallowed up by earth etc and the film moves on as if the earthquake was a shark underground searching for victims. Gives the whole affair a nice Final Destination vibe to the proceedings.

Also, by having mini-quakes rather than one big one, it allows the movie to pace itself. Start off with a scene in the tunnels right out of 1997’s Volcano, Move to our hero facing a divorce and estranged from his ridiculously hot daughter right out of 2015’s San Andreas (Though strangely enough San Andreas came out a year after 10.0 Earthquake). As the mini-quakes increase, the threat of the big one looms and you have a race against time as cracks appear in the road and bridges disappear.

The writing isn’t just good regarding the overall story structure. There are some subplots such as a date rape one are handled much better and more realistically than in many films that do not have earthquakes eating hot tubs.

The Bad

The Bad: While the script will not remind you of The Asylum, the CGI certainly will. As you can see in screenshots below, it sometimes appears they drew on the film with Microsoft Paint.

Also, at no point did the fracking company drill through the earth’s crust. By definition, a fracking company is going after resources in the earth’s crust, not below it. Then there is the practical matter that the earth’s crust in the Angeles National Forest is 26km deep. So… um no.

The Ugly

The Ugly: I going to go with why would you cast Jeffrey Jones in the first place? I mean Jeffrey Jones in no Victor Salva or Ezra Miller, mind you, but he really doesn’t add much to the proceedings. I hate to say it he is damaged good due to his arrest and conviction on various charges involving minors. While this does not affect my ability to enjoy Beetlejuice or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off there is really no need to put him in new films.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: A solid and flexible premise with decent acting and a good script make for an enjoyable disaster movie experience. 10.0 Earthquake is not a brilliant film, but it is decent.

That is a good boy. Though I expect the ducks are that way.
So 10.0 Earthquake goes for that death during sex by double penetration kill you may remember from Friday the 13th Part 2. Instead of Jason with a spear we have an earthquake loosening a stalactite.
And they are dead. It is okay because he is a date rapist, and she is a slut who betrayed her friend or violated a girl code or something. Plus, actress Chasty Ballesteros was the spa receptionist in Final Destination 5, so she should have known better.
This is not the face of a guy deciding to snog on hard rocks surrounded by bat guano in a few hours.
See barely rendered CGI car go smash.
I love my in universe computer displays. Decent mock-up at a glance. Has the words pumps and backwash so I am convinced.
This control panel I find less convincing.
Speaking of things I love to highlight in my reviews, we have the obligatory helicopter shot.
For an inexpensive movie, it really does generate some nice shots. This looks right out of a romance novel cover.
One of the gags that does not quite work is the idea that Jeffrey Jones has a hot wife (Olivia Jordan far right).
Leaving aside the date rape being depicted in this scene for a moment, as some long time readers know, I have had an issue in the past with rest stop bathrooms in movies. Primarily in the movie Rest Stop. Now the bathroom in this scene is relativity clean, but for the love of all that is holy, what is with the magazine rack inside the stall? I am having a hard time thinking of something more unsanitary than an old Field & Stream magazine in a public lavatory.
This wine rack (which is not really a good place to store wine with all that direct light) is surprisingly not a death trap for our earthquake.
I do not covet things by nature, but I do covet this hot tub. (Mine overlooks a swamp and is basically a place for cats to sit on and watch birds)
Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…
Creative camera work helps keep things fresh.
Alas, all the camera work in the world does not help some of the CGI shots.
Though some of the disaster shots are well done.
Every time I see the Griffith Observatory, I feel like playing another session of Grand Theft Auto V.
Yeah, this is a big nope from me earthquakes or no earthquakes.
Malcolm Barrett finding his inner George Costanza.
With a few exceptions (Cough Jeffrey Jones Cough) 10.0 Earthquake has a really attractive cast.
I am getting a serious The Girl in Lovers Lane vibe from this picture.
For some reason, the earthquake is actually chasing you works infinitely better than the cold is chasing you in, say, The Day After Tomorrow.
It makes sense, but the plugs being upside down on these desks still bother me.
I am really impressed with Kristen Dalton in 10.0 Earthquake.
Okay, so maybe I am being a little hard on Jeffrey Jones. He does bring some fun things to the table.
Note neither the end of earth’s crust and beginning of the upper mantle are pictured
I have no idea if this is Heather Sossaman playing someone who really is having second thoughts about turning down the date rapist and being in the woods with the geek. Or this is the actress reacting to hugging her fellow actor.

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David Gidali

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this review and I applaud you for taking the time to write it, not to mention watching this film not once but twice (!). This film is not an orphan and reviews like these are always welcome, as they show our film is seen and appreciated (for good or bad). From my perspective as director: 1) The screenplay was fully rewritten about 3 weeks before shooting began. Not just dialog – the entire plot. It was necessary but also explains the overreliance on clichés and movie tropes, and the scientific inaccuracies (though some were known and… Read more »