Cat. 8 is a mini-series about a few people who come together to avert human catastrophe. The premise is that a United States government commissioned defense satellite, that would help remove threats from outer space using the power of the sun, malfunctions and causes the beginning of the apocalypse. Cat. 8 was Produced by Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment and created by Sonar Entertainment and, boy, was this a mistake. Plagued by inanely boring acting, forced drama, and poor dialogue, this mini series is something to leave on the shelf; if not at the bottom of anywhere too dark to see. If you come across it on a particularly boring day of cable television you’ll be better off watching the TV Guide for three hours. Am I being too hard on Cat. 8? Maybe, but probably not.
Matthew Modine plays the main character, Dr. Michael Ranger, and is probably the worst thing about this entire production. One would never guess that he could possibly been nominated for any awards in acting if this is all they had ever seen with him. He is flat and delivers his lines as if from cue cards. I kept trying to figure out if they had realized this during production, or if it was impossible for him to truly connect with the material (which is a complete possibility.) He lacks the sense of urgency a film about the possible end of the world needs. At best his acting is deplorable. To be fair, none of the actors portray any sense of the actual possibility of this. It feels almost as though all of the actors had just gotten fresh out of their first college acting class and then put straight into this amateurly written spectacle. Maxim Roy stars as the government figure leading the defense satellite project and she is perfect playing co-star against Matthew Modine. I say this because they’re both so utterly terrible that it feels right. Kalinka Petire is a pretty face, as Michael Ranger’s daughter Karen, but not much else. Spiro Malandrakis plays opposite of Kalinka Petire as Officer Tim Davis, her love interest, and again this works perfectly since they’re both so maddeningly dull together that it doesn’t seem out of place. The only actor worth mentioning their performance is actually Kate Drummond as Matthew Modine’s ex-wife, Beverly Hillcroft. She makes the other actors look like high school drama dropouts. It was torture sitting through every moment.
The cinematography is nothing to boast about but it does get the job done. Basic techniques are used, but nothing fancy. The CGI is mediocre at best but it, too, passes because it fits in with the overall poor production value of the film. The pacing is weird and I almost wanted to call the editor to ask whether or not he chose the worst takes to use or if bad takes were merely the only ones to choose from.
The mini series is three hours long and split into two parts. After I finished the first part I almost cried because I knew that I had to watch Part 2 in order to review it as a whole. After starting Part 2 I was pleasantly surprised… for about ten minutes, and then it went straight back to horror. Don’t waste your time with this, they took a concept that could have been good, overwrote it, underacted it, and created a monster… and very unthreatening and lazy monster. As an afterthought, I think it would do well on Lifetime.