The Times (London), Gabriel Tate
19th August 2015
The producers of Terror on Everest: Surviving the Nepal Earthquake, meanwhile, Could Do Better. Even with extraordinary raw material, they couldn’t resist slathering a hyperbolic voice-over and soundtrack on top; what was intended to heighten tension and drama inevitably became an irritating distraction. Does an earthquake that claimed more than 9,000 lives really need a “deadly secret”, let alone an orchestral cue?
Nevertheless, this was utterly compelling and, for those directly affected, visceral language felt entirely appropriate. Interviewed months after the event, many still looked haunted and shaken, having barely escaped with their lives.
We watched curiosity turn to wonder, then to horror and panic as a wall of ice descended on Everest Base Camp: “There was one second where I was thinking: does it even matter if I run now?” The devastation was such that no one knew who was missing or where they might be. In Kathmandu, centuries-old temples crumbled, while remote mountain villages were simply obliterated.
Then there was the footage, of a quality unthinkable even a decade ago when the Asian tsunami was represented by just a few brief, grainy clips. This time, smartphones captured every stage of the catastrophe with terrifying clarity, from the early tremors through to the traumatic business of reconstruction.
The science behind the quake was cogently explained, but offered only brief respite. By the end of the hour, my shoulders were aching from the tension and my conscience was pricked — this country still needs aid, desperately.