A whole bunch of Americans were minding their own business when BOOOOM! New York City blew up in an atomic holocaust! The lives of who knows how many random people are all impacted in various ways as they watch their televisions and listen to their blaring radios in the midst of having other conversations and posting stuff online (and dusting). Through split screens, you can see multiple subplots happening at once to save time! Will all these virtually unknowable characters be able to find the meaning in life after the off-screen explosion threatens to destroy their very lives (and Israel)?
Production Quality (-3 points)
What. In. The. World. Did. We. Just. Watch. Seriously, there is nothing since Final: The Rapture or Saving Christmas that is remotely comparable to the disaster that is My Refuge. There are so many things going on at once in this movie that I have no idea where to start and I doubt I’ll be able to cover it all. Besides the fact that it looks like it was made on Windows Movie Maker and recorded a flip phone camera, what’s with all the split screens?!? Why do we need multiple views of the same scene at once? We can’t handle watching three subplots all play out at the same time, combined with the loud, clunky soundtrack and news reports! We can’t hear what people are saying when a news report is blaring in the background. Also, the cuts and transitions of this film rival that of Mercy Rule. Sets and locations are severely limited to people’s houses and cars. In the end, there is too much bad here to fit into one review, but the bottom line is that this disaster should have never been made.
Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)
Why are we expected to keep up with so many characters? At minimum, there are the characters we have identified: a newscaster trying to come to grips with the nuclear event (radiation levels are very high), a generic family whose father went to New York City for business and was never heard from again (we’re not sure if the family is ever seen again either), a young couple who is expecting their first child, a woman who works at a nondescript office who wants to spend more time with her daughter and more time writing, a retired police officer with a troubled past who wants to marry a single mother, a random family who wants to build a shelter and who takes in the father’s daughter from a previous marriage since her mother is incompetent (this daughter has lots of social media posts), a couple having marriage trouble (she dusts all the time and they have no real connection to the nuclear blast), a random guy who tries to OD on meds (again, no real connection to nuclear holocaust), two old lady neighbors who discuss the nuclear blast, a random pastor and some church people, and probably several others we missed. There are some loose connections between all of these, but there is absolutely no way to follow what is even happening. Continuity is in the negative range and dialogue is schizophrenic. There is literally nothing to be learned from this train wreck and it should have never even been made, not in someone’s wildest dreams.
Acting Quality (-3 points)
Need we go on? The acting is as horrible as the rest of this movie. Random outbursts, screaming, mumbled lines, forced emotions, general insanity—what else is there to say? If I were a part of this chaos, I would be embarrassed and do everything I could to keep it off of my resume.
When your budget is limited to $50,000, it’s never a good idea to try to portray a massive nuclear holocaust, since it mostly has to happen off-screen. Nobody wants to see a film with at least twelve subplots that is shot in people’s houses with the cheapest equipment possible and with the most annoying soundtrack possible and that is edited by a schizophrenic. There’s no winning here and no possible hope for improvement. Basically, if you want to see how bad this one is, you have to see it for yourself.
Final Rating: -9 out of 10 points
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What I think is funny is how the distributers took this film, and others like it, and somehow made an appealing cover (which is totally misleading and borders on false advertising)!
I know right?
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I have never had such an unusual film watching experience. Everything about this is so bad you just wonder how it ever came to be made and whether all these mistakes were truly unintentional. You could make the case that this is some kind of performance art piece on how bad it can get in movie making. I would love to see a director’s commentary on this one, can you even imagine how that would go?
This film stands out from a sea of mediocre Christian movies and joins the elite list of those films that are are truly terrible in every way. It takes a lot to make a movie like this, to somehow bring this all the way through production and distribution and still release this mess. Think of all of the people and time that it takes to make a movie and somehow this one got through that whole process without anyone questioning why it even existed. It is truly an amazing feat.
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