Natural disasters like wildfires are becoming more common, and this realistic action drama highlights the plight of both victims whose homes are razed to the ground and the stressed call handlers and first responders who have to do their best to save lives and get people to safety.
Dave (Peter Facinelli, Twilight), his heavily pregnant wife Sarah (Fiona Dourif, Chucky), and their teenage son Clay (Asher Angel, Shazam!) live deep in the woods. They also have Dave’s obstinate father (Lance Henriksen), who is struggling with health issues but sneakily continues smoking. Dave is struggling with bills, but something much worse is on the way in the form of an out-of-control wildfire that is uprooting everyone in its path. When the time comes for them to flee, they face multiple obstacles, not least Sarah’s waters breaking.
As an eco-survival thriller, On Fire makes its point well, if a tad heavy-handedly. Peter Facinelli (who co-directs with one of the writers, Nick Lyon) leads the impressive cast. His fraught struggle to get to his wife and son is gripping and believable. Everyone excels in their roles, with special mention to Ashlei Foushee as the emergency call taker who can’t help but become emotionally involved in the safety of others.
While some of the flame effects are a little too obviously CGI, On Fire keeps the plight of the characters exciting and gives us plenty to root for.
On Fire is in US cinemas from September 29th.