Review – Into the Storm

Into the Storm Poster

Into the Storm Poster

As a storm front descends on Silverton, Oklahoma (not a real place) a crew of storm chasers, a group of high school students, and a couple of redneck daredevils capture footage of what is soon to become the single biggest twister event in recorded history.

Filmed with a hybrid found-footage and random camera shots when found-footage is not convenient, Into the Stormis disaster film.  It’s also a film disaster.

Pete (Matt Walsh) is the leader of the Titan crew, storm chasers who apparently have hit a dry spell despite employing the expertise of meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies).  Following her hunch, they head towards the small town of Silverton, despite every other chaser in the area staking out obvious territory miles away.  Meanwhile, Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress) are just trying to get through the day as their father (Richard Armitage), vice principal of the high school, stresses out about the graduation ceremony happening that afternoon.  Conveniently tasked with capturing a video time capsule as well as filming the ceremony, the two brothers are armed with cameras.

Trouble is brewing, and I don’t mean in the sky.  Surprise, surprise, there is family drama and Donnie feels ignored by his father who he blames for his mom’s death.  Abandoning his responsibility, he runs off to play white knight for his crush, Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey), helping her re-film a video essay at the abandoned paper mill.

In the meantime, we’re also introduced to a couple of drunken idiots who are just trying to get something that will make them youtube famous.  With the pieces all in place, the skies open and disaster rains down in the form of baseball sized hail and out of control twisters that show up where they please, sometimes engulfed in flames.

The obvious comparison is of course the 1996 film, Twister.  However, as I recall, that film featured talented actors in roles that developed their characters.  Into the Storm not so much.  Meticulously following the “cut here” lines of stock characters, not one of them is memorable.  And every. single. one. is so idiotic, at least once, that you want to just shake them and ask what their major malfunction is.  Standing outside next to a tornado bearing down on you when a perfectly good armored vehicle is ten feet away – the one you just left for no good reason – is pure idiocy.  Being terrified of dieing yet letting yourself get inescapably close to a whirling inferno because your boss (the one yelling at you to move away) wants a good shot makes no sense.  The school is woefully unprepared, despite being in storm country, and absolutely nobody shows an ounce of intelligence more than their allotted half second in the entire movie.

Taking itself too seriously to delve into the “so bad, it’s good” territory, and adding rather offensive comic relief to a film featuring death and destruction gives the tone a bad taste.  Special effects aside, this is barely a step above a SyFy Channel original.

If there is one thing to praise here, it is the special effects.  While they might defy logic, the wind storms and following destruction all look quite fantastic.  Were this movie shown in IMAX 3D, it almost might be worth the price of admission just to get the full effect of the spectacle on display, but it doesn’t even have that going for it.  One scene in particular, right towards the end will cause your heart to drop to your stomach – an extremely effective and well done shot.  These effects are the one thing that elevates the movie above the horrendous made for TV fare, but even that is not enough to save it from itself.

Did I mention that it takes a cue from The Happeningand has people running from wind half the time?  While it makes slightly more sense in this case, it is still just head-shakingly awful.  The whole thing would be laughable were it not just so depressingly bad.  Save your money and stand out on your covered porch the next time a storm passes though, it will be more fun.

Mrs. Hamster says:

“We don’t even get tornadoes and I know how to deal with them better than anyone in this movie.”

My rating: One out of five hats

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Trailer:

Into the Storm blows into 3,434 theaters on August 8th

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