American filmmakers take note: this is how you make a disaster movie. After playing a handful of international festivals last year, the first official trailer for Norwegian disaster drama The Wave has rolled in, promising a film that’s not overly concerned with the spectacle as much as the people said spectacle is actually affecting. Similar to Juan Antonio Bayona’s impressively riveting 2007 film The Impossible, The Wave does what Roland Emmerich and his acolytes are no longer interested in doing: letting us get to know and care about the people whose lives are about to be destroyed by a 300-foot wave.

The Wave premiered at Fantastic Fest last fall, where our own Matt Singer described it as “admirably and likably modest,” and a “reminder that disaster movies work best when they focus on the characters and their struggles, not the big special effects they’re running from.” Basically, American disaster-loving filmmakers like Emmerich could learn a thing or two from The Wave, the surprising and effective drama from Norway, of all places.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The experienced geologist Kristian Eikfjord has accepted a job offer out of town. He is getting ready to move from the city of Geiranger with his family when he and his colleagues measure small geological changes in the underground. Kristian gets worried, and his worst nightmare is about to come true when the alarm goes off and the disaster is inevitable. With less than 10 minutes to react, it becomes a race against time to save as many as possible, including his own family.

Director Roar Uthaug (that name!) made quite an impression not only on critics, but on a few important studio executives, as he’s been tapped to helm the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. You’ll be able to get a sense of why he’s sort of perfect for that job when The Wave hits theaters, OnDemand and digital retailers on March 4.