TV Review: SYFY’s Swamp Volcano



I wanted desperately to like a movie called Swamp Volcano, really I did. I want SyFy Network to be known for things other than WWE Friday Night Smackdown and schlock disaster movie takes. Unfortunately, this one, which aired on SyFy January 28, is another one in a long series.

Swamp Volcano could have been a fun movie. Imagine Cajuns down South running this way and that, gators sizzling or (better yet) metamorphing to unreal, Japan-movie size. Instead, we have the city of Miami sans its Miami Vice coolness in the middle of a magma bog after a volcano develops.

This script is so intensely cliché that it almost seems plagiarized from other poor SyFy movies like Volcano in New York. The usual suspects are here, character-wise. There’s a young sister in peril, an ex-husband who happens to be a famous adventurer, and the corporate baddies. I cared about precisely none of them, although the acting is better than one might expect.

Oh, Brad Dourif struggles valiantly to make his baddie interesting, but the bland seriousness of the script betrays his effort. The special effects and action sequences are phenomenally lame and are the biggest culprits to making the movie frustratingly boring. There’s the appearance of something called a “steam tsunami” which seems promising, but then goes absolutely nowhere, kinda like the octopus menace in Robin Williams’ old Popeye vehicle, if I am not dating myself.

What more is there to say about Swamp Volcano? It’s been written by one of the usual hacks (Declan O’Brien) and directed by another (Todor Chapkanov). Even given adjusted expectations and a hearty enjoyment of bad movies, I still found it testing my patience greatly.

When the film failed to provide suspense or entertainment, I looked for amusement and found none of that either. It isn’t so poorly mounted technically that it’s funny, and it’s not assured enough to be legitimate fun. Anyone who would turn on the television because the title Swamp Volcano caught their eye will also be similarly disappointed. It’s not just a waste of a few hours, it’s a waste of a fabulously dopey title!

The good news here is that Rachel Hunter, who was passable in this, will be returning for Piranhaconda. Given the relatively low performance rate of these things lately, that one is shaping up to be the anticipated SyFy schlock to beat in 2012.

Meanwhile, back on Smackdown