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‘Tsunambee’ (review)

Produced by Charlie Aligaen, Denise LeMaire
Written and Directed by Milko Davis
Starring Stacy Pederson, Ruselis Aumeen Perry,
Shale Le Page, Maria DeCoste, Thea Saccoliti,
Charlie Aligaen, Jeff Pederson, Jordan Chesnut

There is nothing wrong with a good schlocky B-movie.

There is, however, something tedious and vaguely offensive about a B-movie that takes itself too seriously while using stereotypes and religion to push an agenda.

Gone is the joy from low production values and cheesy lines, replaced with pained groans from tired dialogue and non-engaging plot lines. This is the kind of dull experience Tsunambee is.  While the premise seems destined for Midnight Movie greatness, you will wish for a wall of water to wipe this film from the Earth.

The movie revolves around a catastrophic event that leads to a group of people fleeing the city, where “end of the world” style looting and fires have broken out. On their escape, they run into other survivors who display varying levels of trust. But all must work together to escape the swarms of angry giant bees that have been loosed upon the troubled countryside.

Oh, and zombies.

And Christianity.

The movie begins with a Biblical quote referencing the insects sent by God to plague the sinful world. But that is where the explanation ends. There is a vague two-line reference from the hapless researchers who find the hive that references a murky backstory, but really that is all the audience gets as far as origin and motivation till at least two thirds of the movie is finished. The film then jumps to a tired alley shooting scene, then to an apartment in the city, then to a three way standoff all within 15 minutes. Tsunambee is like a high school group project where everyone got the assignment but went to work solo. It’s exhausting how every scene seems disjointed from a main story.

Even a horrible movie can be saved by likable characters, but this fails that test too. Each one-note player (mean cop, angry gangster, dumb hillbilly, etc.) only aggravates and annoys. The gangster is constantly screaming and pulling out his gun, the cop is endlessly belittling, and if we removed “Please stop fighting” from the gangster’s pious girlfriend’s vocabulary, she’d be silent for at least half the movie. There are no real redeemable characters to root for. At any point, it seems like someone is on the heels of a personal revelation that may make them less of a horrible person, but the film never gives us that additional story to develop any empathy. The best anyone can do is pray for a quick ending to all of them and a cast switch.

Alas, these prayers shall go unanswered.

The wooden acting of Stacy Pederson as Sherriff Lindsey Feargo seems like she was told not to go “too big” and instead turned in a stilted and jarring performance. Ruselis Perry is the most dynamic as the self-centered gangster JB but that does not say very much. As Chica, JB’s God-loving girlfriend, Maria DeCoste alternates between shrilly screaming and asking everyone to have faith. Again, the reason for having faith in light of this situation is not shared with her traveling companions, much less the audience.

Perhaps the less we know, the better.

There was not a single moment where the movie brought out a chuckle, scream, or any reaction rather than disappointment. That in itself is a downer, as the idea of God sending giant bees to Earth to torment and reset the sin of the world could be an interesting take if done correctly.

The ending left way for a sequel, so we may be seeing Tsunambee 2 next year. Let’s hope they learned something from the many mistakes plaguing the original.

Tsunambee is now available On Demand.

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