As the summer of 2014 confirmed, disaster movies aren’t disappearing any time soon. This year’s “Into the Storm” failed to blow viewers away, and largely received a hailstorm of criticism. Mainly disaster flicks are greeted by a flurry of criticism, primarily because they’ve exhausted their originality at this point. The 90’s seemed to particularly appreciate the genre, featuring “Volcano,” “Twister,” and “Hard Rain.”
Unfortunately, many of the man vs. nature movies inadvertently morph into so-bad-they’re-good films, which often aren’t even that good. Lately, the disaster genre spawned a few parodies, including the appropriately named “Disaster Movie” and “This is the End.” Arriving much in the same vein is a short film, which comes in the form of a fake film trailer. “Precipitation,” hailing from Villainess Productions, features a hilarious plot: it’s raining in Los Angeles. We could halt there and the result would be comedic enough, but there’s more. The general wetness is causing mass panic.
“Precipitation” is practically dripping with disaster movie stereotypes, which harken back to the familiar formula we’ve grown to know so well. The opening features the unsuspecting L.A. residents going about their daily routines, while ominous music sets the scene. A passerby in a raincoat appears to predict the impending doom, like Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) from “Jaws.” A slew of clichés are lampooned, including the obligatory group dynamics scenarios, the “it’s too dangerous” proclamations, and the child in danger set up. What makes “Precipitation” riotously funny is the anticlimactic storm, which amounts to a mild drizzle.
The gross overreactions to the rain mimic similar situations in traditional disaster flicks. The mock-serious delivery in “Precipitation,” however, is actually intended to be tongue in cheek, unlike the unintentional comedy prevalent throughout the genre. One of the greatest moments is the post-apocalyptic prophet, complete with tri-cornered hat and rose-tinted glasses. Even disaster films featuring natural calamities usually feature a villain, which often feels forced. Further enhancing “Precipitation’s” hilarity is the relevance to our world. Each winter, when the Southern United States receives a slight snowfall, the region shuts down. For reference, check out Jon Stewart’s lovely recap.
Ripe with recognizable lampooned elements of a tired genre, Villainess Productions’ short film is well worth your 6 minutes and 19 seconds. Deceptively, the YouTube video reads “official trailer,” and complete with the standard preview screen Paramount logo, it’s actually believable. The cast are quite talented, and more convincing than many theatrical releases. Watch the trailer, just be sure to keep a box of Kleenex nearby for the inevitable tears of laughter sure to stream down your cheeks. Or is that…rain??? Stay dry, Examiners!