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Into The Storm – Review

August 20, 2014

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


UNTITLED TORNADO PROJECT

As far as disaster films go, Into the Storm is this summer’s most straightforward pick of the bunch. If rip-roaring tornadoes and Mother Nature taking its revenge is your thing, Into the Storm is the disaster porn of your dreams. The film follows a single day in the town of Silverton, Oklahoma on high school graduation day when an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes ravage through the small rural area, leaving the citizens at the mercy of lethal cyclones. Really it’s just a B-movie version of Twister remade 20 years later, with found footage mixed in.

As far as the story goes, the vice-principal of the school Gary Morris (Richard Armitage) gets his two sons Donnie and Trey to create a time capsule video ahead of the graduation ceremony to be viewed 25 years later. However just as this is going on, storm chasers on the outskirts of the town discover that what they thought was just an ordinary benign tornado turns out to be one capable of lethal chaos and it’s heading right for the ceremony.

Director Steven Quale has experience in disaster flicks, previously taking the helm of Final Destination 5 (a surprisingly decent installment in the franchise) yet ever since that film both he and writer John Swetnam don’t seem to have had much practice delving into characterization or even plot mechanics. But they try their best to distract you with a sheer blitz of special effects to hide the lack of those basic elements. If you fancy a film in which tornadoes and mother nature take up the role as the big bad guy, get yourself to the biggest screen possible with the loudest sound system for this experience – but please leave your brain at the door.

The tornado really does feel like a villain in the skin of a B movie serial killer – changing course to hunt down high school students at graduation, picking them off one by one, it even follows the path of Halloween and Friday the 13th of keeping it sinister by not having a line. And it starts it all in the first scene with four partying teens murdered mercilessly by a brutal cyclone. Although the first half of the film rumbles along and meanders quite slowly, if you thought watching tornadoes whip around screen for 90 minutes is a bit repetitive, the crew spice things up later on with adding in firenados (sadly no sharknados present) and mega-tornadoes.

INTO THE STORM

Although the found footage element worked well in previous disaster films like Cloverfield, and in the superhero film Chronicle, it fails to really capture the thrills that could have been shot from a normal perspective. However, the film is attempting to update the disaster genre into the 21st century, for a youtube generation, and it adds a fresh touch, in comparison to its twin, Twister, from 1996. It also tries to mimic The Day After Tomorrow with large-scale disaster and family-focused drama at the centre of it – yet it pales in comparison, with the forgettable characters failing to elicit much or any of the audience’s sympathy.

This is a disaster film, and it does what it says on the poster, but not much else. Clumsy plotting and unmemorable characters leave this badly flawed release in the confines of a B-movie, but its thrilling effects do enough to leave you on the edge of your seat. If you can’t get to a rollercoaster ride this summer, check out Into the Storm.

Into The Storm is out in UK cinemas on August 20th

Oliver Smith