When Mountain Movies Go Bad
Having headed to Nepal as a treat for his wife's birthday Joe (Dennis Boutsikaris - *batteries not included) and Amy Hoffman (Markie Post - Backyard Wedding) meet up with their guide and support team to go hiking in the mountain. But when disaster strikes and a severe storm blows in causing a huge avalanche they find themselves stuck on the mountain, lost due to the changed landscape and the severe cold putting them all at risk as they battle to survive.
As a movie fan I hate ridiculing a movie but some times you can't help it because it is simply bad and sadly that is the case of the made for TV movie "Survival on the Mountain". Right from the opening scenes which show Joe tumble down a snowy slope, supposedly whilst hiking in Nepal but you need a lot of imagination to believe it, it is corny especially as he then urges his wife to go on without him, supposedly so weak and injured he can barely move. And it gets no better because we then get a vision of the wife's long departed father dressed like a 50s businessman trudging through the mountain snow. It simply doesn't work and it never gets any better, in fact "Survival on the Mountain" doesn't even get to that magical point of being so bad that it becomes good.
The opening scene I just described is just a taster because after that "Survival on the Mountain" jumps back to two weeks earlier and husband and wife Joe and Amy planning to head to Nepal for a hiking trip, a present for Amy's birthday. Typically we get are first warning and Amy's mum fears something bad will happen and whilst you already know it will the telegraphing of the drama is far too obvious. Anyway next thing we know Amy and Joe are in Nepal, joined up with their native guides and a couple of people at base camp and then have gone for a leisurely hike in the mountains, notice we are talking hiking not climbing probably the only difference between "Survival on the Mountain" and other mountain movies. But at the same time we have more telegraphing as it less than subtly informs us of a typhoon having hit an area nearby not too far away and is on the way to the mountain.
What this all means is that suddenly everyone has to turn back, there is danger from avalanches, the snow covered landscape makes their guide useless and his team ill equipped without the right clothes. Throw in some frost bite, more avalanches, death, sickness, and betrayal and you basically have "Survival on the Mountain" a movie whose storyline revolves around Amy and Joe getting back and that is it. And yes at about two thirds of the way through we get to the corny opening scene as Joe takes a tumble and urges Amy to go on without him.
Now a weak storyline wouldn't be so bad if "Survival on the Mountain" achieved a couple of things that being believable and being exciting, but it achieves neither. You really have to disengage your brain to believe the beautiful snowy mountains of Canada look like the Himalayas almost as much as when somehow Joe gets severe frost bite to his hands and fingers but not his uncovered face. But the drama is just as bad as close calls with avalanches look fake and as for the guides who Amy and Joe end up not trusting well it does little to make for any real excitement. It really is that bad and whilst lack of directional imagination, special effects and a lack of believability all are problems I don't think even improvements in these areas would have helped because "Survival on the Mountain" doesn't have the decent story to start with.
As for the acting well it is as unbelievable as everything else thanks to some terribly written characters. Take Dennis Boutsikaris as Joe, yes he who is too weak to carry on, to ill to move yet wait a minute, spoiler alert here if you care, when help comes in the form of a helicopter somehow he not only has the strength to get up but also walk into a river and put himself in a harness, it's a miracle. In a way it's not Boutsikaris's fault or that of Markie Post who plays Amy because their characters are so inconsistently written.
What this all boils down to is that "Survival on the Mountain" is simply bad and it's not even so bad it becomes entertaining it is just bad. In fact for a movie which is all about danger and disaster it makes some other made for TV mountain movies look like big screen blockbusters.