The horribleness and/or brilliance of SyFy’s recent spate of original made-for-TV CGI ejaculations is already legend on the Internet, with titles like Sharktopus, Mansquito, and Dinocroc vs. Supergator sparking fond recollections of the cheesy ‘50s B-movies that aesthetically preceded them. Snowmageddon, currently available on Blu-ray from Anchor Bay, is such a film in both concept and spirit, though unfortunately its lack of story coherence or solid opportunities for deploying cheesy computer effects make it a tragically weak entry in the canon.
A few days before Christmas, a cheery nuclear family living in a small town in Alaska receive a strange gift on their doorstep, with no sender indicated. Inside the velvet-wrapped box, addressed to their introverted and nerdy youngest son, is an elaborate, handcrafted snow globe, containing a perfect replica of their own town. To the young boy’s chagrin, after enjoying some private time with the snow globe, he discovers that it has an effect on the weather outside, in the real world – specifically, it makes really bad blizzards happen, and sometimes it causes earthquakes and weird, inexplicable terrain deformations. Naturally no adults will believe that this is really true, and the kid’s mom and sister are soon stranded with some hunky snowboarders in the mountains while the town collapses beneath the weight of the snow globe’s weird, magical, apparently directionless aggressions.
Snowmageddon’s major problem is that what’s actually happening in the film, or why it’s happening, isn’t ever made very clear. Basically when this kid shakes a snow globe, it causes the weather to become really awful, and then sometimes big spears of ice and/or rocks shoot up out of the ground and kill people. But where this magical snow globe came from, what causes its magical powers, or what the intended goal of all this is supposed to be (aside from causing a lot of really major traffic inconveniences) is pretty unclear, and therefore not incredibly exciting or suspense-inducing ever.
While a title like Megapython vs. Gatoroid might understandably include some pretty no-brainer, standalone showcases for goofy CG crap, helicopters getting blown out of the air by snowstorms and muddy mountain roads erupting into craggy death traps is only really interesting if you care about some other story element that contextualizes why this is happening and why it matters. The movie also tries strenuously to be holiday-themed, and while the set designers certainly did a very good job of packing every single conceivable frame of their disaster movie full of Christmas lights, conifers, and people singing “Silent Night” in the background, the result is that the movie feels even less convincingly tense and horrifying than it might have otherwise.
Aside from a looping menu screen with annoying theme music that I accidentally left up on my computer screen while taking a nap the other day, causing me to resent the film even more than I already did, Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray doesn’t really have much stuff on it aside from the actual movie, and a couple of trailers for things like Walking Dead. It’s all very warm and adorable and Christmasy, but unfortunately not very fun or entertaining to watch.