Without Warning (1994) - USA - Sci-Fi/Breaking News Drama - TV Movie
Directed by Robert Iscove
Starring Sander Vanocur, Jane Kaczmarek, Bree Walker, Dwier Brown, Brian McNamara, James Morrison, James Handy, Kario Salem, Spencer Garrett, Gina Hecht, Dennis Lipscomb, John de Lancie, Patty Toy, Ashley Peldon
An excellent presentation in a breaking news format marred by occasional irrelevancies and a confused message.
A murder mystery movie is playing only to be interrupted by breaking news. Three locations around the world in the northern hemisphere have been struck by meteorites simultaneously; one in the United States, one in Europe and one in Asia. It seems an asteroid entering into Earth's orbit broke apart into three pieces, hurtling three meteors into Earth's atmosphere. As the night progresses questions arise about the equidistant spacing of the hits, and that they all struck on the same parallel. With the seemingly systematic meteorite strikes, two survivors having been found both speaking incoherently in tongues, and a prominent SETI scientist being rushed to NASA, the question arises if this has some alien intelligence behind it. More after we break for station identification.
If it weren't for this having been made 23 years ago, my first thought was this would be a great prank to pull on unsuspecting friends or guests; leaving this playing on the TV when they come over to visit and telling them it's an actual newscast. Other than the opening mystery movie sequence, solely for the purpose of having programming to break into with the newscast, this is entirely a mock newscast with only a 'we will return after this from our local affiliates' thrown in for commercial breaks. Of course, at the time it was originally broadcast there would also be a disclaimer that this was not real, both as a crawl (text on the bottom of the screen) and at commercial breaks (not included in the DVD version). Unfortunately with an actual retired newsman leading the cast, Sander Vanocur, and the very convincing presentation, this movie did cause some concern among viewers watching it if they didn't tune in from the start because it looked so real.
The presentation is excellent. What takes it down a notch for me is contrivances within the broadcast used for heightening the tension, or storytelling, but with no conclusion or necessarily much if any rationality. Although sparse in this regard, what happens in the town of Grover's Mill, without giving anything away, doesn't fit with the rest of the story, other than heightening the mystery, irrelevantly, and lacks much sense with regard to the rest of the story. And good luck with figuring out the message this movie is trying to make; it just seems like blaming people for trying to defend themselves.
Despite my reservations about contrivances within the story and a confused message, overall it is an excellent and entertaining presentation that is overall a good movie.
My Rating: 3 Fingers
You can get it on DVD though the price seems high. I found it on YouTube myself.
Check out the Sci-Fi Collector's Set on DVD with Final Days of Planet Earth and Supernova.