DEADLY SHIFT
ALTERNATIVE TITLES: POLAR OPPOSITES I GROUND ZERO: THE DEADLY SHIFT I DISASTER I EPICENTRAS

DEADLY SHIFT

Running time: 86 minutes
PG-13 for a disturbing image

The movie was filmed in Santa Clarita, California, in October 2007.


Theatrical release date (USA):
June 6, 2008


TV Premiere (USA/Canada):
20 June-17 July 2008
here! Networks (Pay TV)


Cast

Charles Shaughnessy (Dr. David Barrett)
Clive Revill (Leo)
Ken Barrett (Dr. Martin Ward)
Tracy Nelson (Dr. Jenna Ward)
Kieren Hutchison (Dr. Joe Bradford)
Beth Grant (General Railen)
Ian Patrick Williams (Dwight Thompson)
Lee Arenberg (McNeil)
Jackie Geary (Kimi)
Jeffery Christopher Todd (Ethan)
Ismael “East” Carlo (Alberto)
Nicole Vennera (Melanie)
Devika Parikh (Dr. Debbie Bryer)
Ryan Caltagirone (Bomber Pilot)
James Di Giacomo (Pilot)
Alex Lorre (Iranian Man)
Lynn Milano (Candy)

Crew
Written by Paolo Mazzucato
Directed by Fred Olen Ray
Producers: Paul Colichman, Stephen P. Jarchow
Co-Producer: Jeffrey Schenk
Co-Exec. Producer: Meredith Kadlec
Line Producer: Kimberly A. Ray
Director of Photography: Theo Angel
Editor: Randy Carter
Production Design: Peter Dang
Costume Designer: Ricky Fournier
Make-Up: Judy Lewin
Music by Chuck Cirino
Visual Effects: BFX IMAGEWORKS
Special Effects: SOTA FX

 

 

Scientist David Terran's [Charles Shaughnessy] unconventional theories about the dangers of Earth's magnetic fields have made him a joke amongst his colleagues. Even his best friend, Martin Ward [Ken Barnett], refuses to take David's scientific ideas seriously. Denied the respect he deserves, David gives up on his career and retreats to a remote cabin to live with his father.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government has begun a series of rogue nuclear tests which unexpectedly sets into motion a series of dangerous events. A sudden spike in solar radiation and devastating earthquakes threatens to destroy all life on the planet.

Desperate to do something, the US government calls on David for help. But the only way he can succeed is with the help of the friend who didn't believe in him.

Now David and Martin must pull together to rebuild their friendship and save the world from total destruction.


FULL MOVIE SYNOPSIS (spoiler!)

The film opens in the Yzad province of Iran. A man walks through a bustling bazaar to a building at the other side of the village. Suddenly, a shockwave carrying tons of desert sand wipes over the village and swallows it whole. Back in the U.S., General Railen’s phone wakes her in the middle of the night. Railen meets with the other members of the defense team in the war room of the White House. FBI Director, Dwight Thompson, announces that there was a botched nuclear test in Iran megatons larger than expected. Iran has multitudes of nuclear weapons given to them by the Taliban.

David Barrett sits on the dock of a small pond with a fishing pole in hand. His house is in the middle of the desert fifty miles away from the nearest town. A car drives up the dirt road to the house and David’s father, Leo, steps out. Seeing that David’s fishing has been fruitless, Leo offers to give him some bait. David tells him that he is not really trying to catch anything and just needed some time to think. Leo can’t fathom why a best-selling author would settle for a modest house in the middle of nowhere in lieu of a swanky pad in Beverly Hills. David explains that since his last book was a critical flop, he would rather stay out of the public eye. A flock of geese passes by overhead; David notices that they seem to be fleeing East in an erratic, hurried manner.

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, Dr. Jenna Ward is stuck in traffic, so she checks in with her colleague, Joe, at the cancer clinic where she works. Her brother cancelled their plans to have dinner at her house so she’s on her own for the night. Joe makes an awkward attempt to invite himself over, but she rejects his advances. She quickly changes the subject by asking about their patients.  Joe reports that patients who are in remission are suddenly complaining of nausea and dizziness. The symptoms are consistent with altitude sickness, which is not possible given the patients recent histories.

At the Geophysical Data Center, Dr. Martin Ward, Jenna’s brother and brilliant geophysicist, receives news that the level of solar radiation on Earth is increasing rapidly. The data seems to show that the Earth’s rotation is slowing down.

Back in Los Angeles, there is a small tremor, but nothing unusual for LA. We see a poor, seemingly deranged man talking to himself while sitting outside the cancer clinic. Joe comes out of the clinic to survey any damage from the quake and recognizes the man as Alberto one of his patients. Alberto is sure that the quakes are a sign of a bigger event that has yet to unfold.

The clinic’s ditzy medical assistant, Melanie, strolls back into the clinic after a two hour lunch. Joe tries to chastise her but she is listening to her headphones and does not hear him. In spite of her work habits, Joe is attracted to Melanie but he cannot date an employee. He wonders if he should fire her, which would greatly improve the service at the clinic as well as his chances of having a love life.

At the geophysics lab, Martin gets testy when his associate Ethan cannot give him the exact cause of the quake. He claims to hate working with theories, which is a natural by-product of delving into exploratory science. His assistant Kimi reminds him that many aspects of life, such as dating, cannot be adequately examined using pure fact.

At the White House, Director Dwight Thompson briefs the defense team on the situation. The Iranians deny that they have conducted any weapons test, in spite of the fact that an entire town was leveled. McNeil, the Secretary of Defense, blames the event on Railen because she should have ordered a strike on Iran’s nuclear plants when she had a chance. She counters that without proof of a weapons program, a strike would have been a breach of international law. McNeil is frustrated by her apparent pacifism and he orders a list of recourses for Iran.  One of the scenarios includes nuclear war. After the meeting, Railen receives a report by Dr. Martin Ward detailing the rise in radiation worldwide. Railen suspects that the huge blast has caused worldwide nuclear fallout and decides to take a trip to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Ward.

The cancer clinic is flooded with patients complaining of nausea and vomiting. The symptoms make no sense, as they have completed their chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Alberto wanders into the clinic, disoriented and talking to himself. He does, however, remember Jenna.  She thinks he’s depressed about the fact that his daughter has moved back to Mexico. He says that he is in communication with Mother Earth and that she needs to take a rest. Jenna’s cell phone rings and it is Martin calling to apologize for canceling their dinner plans. He asks her if anything strange has been happening at the clinic and she tells him about her patients’ strange symptoms. He says that the symptoms may have something to do with a natural phenomenon described in David’s book, but won’t elaborate. Jenna says that he should give his relationship with David a second chance. Martin is too stubborn to agree but it is clear that he has not moved on.

General Railen and Director Thompson fly by helicopter to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, David and his father cook dinner together. Dad hints at the virtue of forgiveness and encourages him to rekindle his relationship with ex-flame Martin. David refuses to hear of it. At dinner, he explains that his recent crankiness is not due to his romantic woes. He suspects that the Earth’s polar magnetic fields are losing their balance, and if this is true, humans will go the way of the dinosaurs.

Debbie from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) calls for Jenna with some bad news. There has been an increase in solar radiation and radiation poisoning is becoming a nationwide epidemic. There is a protein that exists in some humans called RLIP 76 that blocks the harmful effects of radiation and stress. Those who have it will not be affected by solar radiation quite so quickly; everyone else will get very sick, very fast.

General Railen and Thompson arrive at Martin’s lab to discuss his findings.  They are surprised to hear that the radiation was not caused by nuclear fallout. Martin explains that the Earth’s magnetic fields protect it from being bombarded by gamma rays. The magnetic field is powered by the magma at the Earth’s core. When the Earth’s rotation slows down, the magnetic field gets weaker and more gamma rays are allowed in, hence, there is an increase in radiation. When Railen asks what could have caused the Earth’s rotation to slow down, Martin won’t answer. Kimi pipes in with a theory she read in David’s book.  He proposed that it could be caused by a major electromagnetic event at one of the Earth’s vulnerable locations.

At that point, Director Thompson declares that from now on, these findings are classified and no one is to leave the building. General Railen decides that she needs to talk to David and Martin accompanies them to David’s home. Kimi tries to call Jenna to warn her, but Thompson stops her. The computers at the lab sound their alarms during an electrical surge, as power grids blow up all over the country. Jenna tries to find Melanie. She was supposed to be at the corner store picking up a money wire from her mother; Jenna finds her lying on the bathroom floor convulsing in a puddle of her own vomit.

When Martin and the convoy arrive at David’s house, he is less than thrilled. When David’s book was first published, it was ridiculed by critics who said that the theories were sensationalized. In order to distance himself from the criticism his partner received, Martin publicly denounced his partner’s work as being “crystal ball science.” David refuses to help until General Railen tells him that he is desperately needed because the fate of the world is at stake.

He launches into an explanation of the strange geological events. The slowing of the Earth’s rotation causes the atmosphere to spread out and allow more gamma rays onto the surface. When the magnetic poles weaken, immense pressure is exerted on the Earth’s fault lines causing a major shift in the continental shelf.  The Earth will eventually right itself in its own geologic time frame, but not before all life on the planet ceases to exist.

Suddenly, a large tremor rolls through California. The cancer clinic sustains major damage and most of the patients are now injured or dead. Jenna and Joe are both shaken but unhurt; they try to help the survivors.

Back in the desert, David has an epiphany. He proposes that the Earth may develop a new set of opposing poles that might create a tenuous balance. Another explosion, however, would destroy that slim chance. General Railen realizes that US government is still planning to bomb Iran in retaliation for their unlawful weapons test. Railen needs a phone to call the White House and call off the attack, but satellite communications are down. They have only one hour before the land lines go down so they must drive as fast as they can to get to the town fifty miles away.

The lab has sustained massive structural damage and Director Thompson is trapped under a pile of rubble with a broken leg. Kimi managed to avoid the falling debris so she is not injured. To everyone’s surprise, the lab’s only working phone starts to ring. When Kimi picks it up, it is the President and he wants to speak to Thompson. After a brief conversation with the President, McNeil gets on the phone and tells him that they are going to go ahead with the bombing of Iran. Thompson pleads with him, but McNeil will not back down and states that the bomb will drop in two hours. As they speak, the aircraft bomber is being prepared for takeoff.

By the time David and the rest of the group get to town, the phone lines are already dead. Martin decides to return to Los Angeles to find Jenna; David opts to go with him. David’s father takes off to see his girlfriend.

As David and Martin drive into Los Angeles, Martin apologizes to David for selling him out when the critics were tearing him apart. He admits that he’s still in love.  The blissful moment is interrupted by another large quake that crumbles the crowded freeway.  They arrive at the lab to find it in total shambles. Kimi is still uninjured, but Thompson has been impaled by a piece of piping and Ethan is under a pile of debris, presumed dead. With his last breath, Thompson tells David and Martin that the bomb is due to drop in less than two hours.

Jenna and Joe are overwhelmed with injured patients. Joe is losing hope; he wants to leave the patients behind to fend for himself and he wants Jenna to go with him. She refuses to leave because she is waiting for her brother. Joe will not stay.

General Railen arrives at the lab. The phones are down, but there is a telegraph machine at the White House that can be resurrected for emergencies. Martin remembers that there is a machine used for money wires at the corner market that might be able to send outbound communication.

Jenna sits under the front desk with Alberto. His daughter recently moved back to Mexico with her baby and he is afraid that he will never see her again. He never told her about his cancer because he knew that she would never have gone back if she had known. Jenna promises that they will get through this, and he will see his daughter again.

David and Martin find Jenna; they join the others at the corner market. The telegraph machine is in good shape, but it has no power. Railen has her men take the battery out of the SUV and Kimi hooks it up to the machine. They have a single charge, just sufficient to make it work.  Railen gets through to the White House, but the military insists on proceeding with the mission. David gets on the wire and explains that if they detonate the bomb, it will end life on Earth. The White House decides to abort the mission seconds before the machine dies.

The team celebrates by taking a trip to Mexico. Alberto is reunited with his daughter and David and Martin have rekindled their romance. Leo is at home making the most of his time with his new girlfriend. The Earth has righted itself using the force of its new opposing poles.

© 2008 Regent Releasing / © 2007 HERE! STUDIOS L.L.C.

Deadly Shift

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Kieren Hutchison