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Volcano-Saur: The Review

Director: W.D Hogan

Cast: Ed Quinn, Pascale Hutton, William B. Davis, Cindy Busby, Ty Olsson

Plot: A long dormant volcano near the town of Ascension begins coming to life, but is it more than a volcano?

For a long while, I believed that Volcanosaur was finally the ideal B Movie. Sure, it was undeniably silly with a dinosaur living inside a volcano, but it had a few tricks up its sleeve that made it stand above the other entries in the B Movie Wednesday category.

Mainly, the acting was actually really good. Sure, some of the actors had to trip their way through some hammy dialogue and there is a lot of scientific jargon bandied about, but for the most part, everyone handles their character well. Ed Quinn might be nothing new when it comes to your lead hero in a B Movie, but he had a natural way of delivering his lines and he was believable when it came to the relationships he had with the supporting cast. The typical B Movie red shirts were also a lot more three-dimensional. While the main story goes on, there are a teenage couple camping in the woods, near the volcano, totally unaware that they are in danger. We know the score by now; they are going to wander around aimlessly for a while and then be killed off horribly. However, there is something different here; we actually end up caring for the characters. Cindy Busby is a pretty good actress. One scene sees her heart breaking behind teary eyes, as her father explains a scientific theory about the volcano to her and she thinks he is going mad, off his medication. Because the scene is played so believably, we don’t roll our eyes at a twenty-year old girl abandoning her dad in a moment of need, so she can run off with her boyfriend, but instead we see a poor, young woman who cannot stay in the house and watch her father’s mentality break. Usually with B Movies, this scene would be rushed, as it is a means to get the characters separated and fodder for the movie monster, but here the director and writers take and step back and think how they can use this conversation to improve the two characters. As a result, when the two teenagers wander around the forest, being stalked by something, we really don’t want to see them killed off, which makes these scenes feel so much more prominent.

At this point, I was feeling pretty chuffed that I dug this movie out. Ones hopes aren’t raised too high, when the title of a movie is called Volcanosaur, but I was eagerly waiting to write a review, telling the internet that this dumb B Movie is actually a hidden gem. In fact, things only really start falling apart in the last twenty minutes. We have all of these great characters and reasonable actors backing them, which is the biggest problem with most B Movies instantly solved, and as the climax builds up, we want the B Movie to do what B Movies do best: silly monster action. And it never really does. The truth is that the actual Volcanosaur is a terrible monster. Quite amusingly, it looks nothing like the dinosaur on the DVD cover. The reveal takes ages, which is usually a good thing and another common B Movie problem sorted, but when the monster does show up, it doesn’t really do anything. This is a budget problem and I always feel a little bitter criticising movies for such things, but the typical B Movie audience will not like this movie. The final fight is tame and after the great build-up, the movie just fizzles out. It was really frustrating, because all it needs is a final kick and it would have been something I would be happy to recommend. Sadly, it is a little dull.

Final Verdict: Some great characters are on offer here, but Volcanosaur doesn’t have the final climax to justify the time spent with them. A shame.

Two Stars