40 Minutes Over Maui: Review

40 Minutes Over Maui

40 Minutes Over Maui – Review. By Megan Williams.

When you go on holiday to a warm destination, what do you expect to find? Nice villa or hotel? Maybe a white, sandy beach with a bright blue sea? Or what about a false alarm revolving around a ballistic missile strike?….No? Well, that’s exactly what two vacationers encounter in the short film ‘40 Minutes Over Maui’. 

Directed and written by Josh Covitt and Michael Feld, the 14-minute comedy revolves around couple, Penny and Larry, who are on holiday in Hawaii. What should’ve been a relaxing morning at the pool turns into a morning of mixed emotions, as they receive a text alert informing them that a ballistic missile is due to hit the continent in 40 minutes.



The short is based on true events that occurred in 2018, where Hawaiian residents and vacationers received a government text alert informing them of an impending missile strike. The message was a false alarm, but this wasn’t made public until 45 minutes after the first message went out. 

Past disaster films have asked the question ‘What would you do when faced with an apocalyptic situation?’, but a film has rarely asked what you would do in such a short space of time. It’s a daunting question to think about, and one that this short handles with hilarity and humanity.

40 Minutes Over Maui Trailer from Michael Feld on Vimeo.

It gives us a glimpse into what we’d realistically do if potentially given a short amount of time left on this planet. And these characters do exactly that, from eating the free chocolate and crisps they’d been given, to trying to gain a threesome, to calling their children. The latter of which turns into an awkward and slightly speechless voicemail from Penny. 

Julie Brister (Night of the Living Deb) and Johnny Ray Meeks (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) were perfect as Penny and Larry, the couple who are plunged into a sudden life-threatening situation (or so they think).

They bring a sense of realism to the surreal environment, but also give us a peek into who they are as people: Penny starts off as a nervous individual, but later appears confident. Larry, however, is nervous and possibly lacks self-confidence, which stays consistent throughout the whole film. He is supposedly a writer, but ends up admitting to Penny that he’s just been playing video games instead. 

‘40 Minutes Over Maui’ gives us a glimpse into a scenario that someone actually experienced during this horrific blunder. It also holds a mirror to what some of us would do if we were in the same scenario: would we run to find shelter and, in doing so, a way to survive; or we would stay where we currently were at that time and accept a horrific end?

It’s dark humour allows for an easy watch, and the two lead actors are enjoyable to watch. ‘40 Minutes Over Maui’ is an enjoyable and funny short about one of recent history’s biggest blunders.


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Megan’s taste in films are interesting: her favourite films are ‘Space Jam’, Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Cat Returns’, as well as horror films ‘Saw’, ‘Drag Me To Hell’ and ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’. When she’s not watching films, she’ll be spending precious hours playing ‘Crash Bandicoot’.