Director: Steven Quale
Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam Carey.
Written by: John Swetnam.
Running Time: 89 mins
Release date: 21st August 2014
Picture the scene, if you would. A group of movie executives in an office deciding what their next project will be, when one comes up with this: A disaster movie in the form of a found footage film. Exactly what the world needs. Actually, it doesn’t but we’ve got it anyway and it’s called Into The Storm, a late entry in the Summer blockbuster race that could be the forerunner in the coveted Dumbest Film Of The Year prize.
The small town of Silverton is preparing for the High School graduations when the weather takes a turn for the worse. With a group of storm chaser and documentary makers after that elusive tornado, the Vice Principal of the school trying to find his son who has gone off with the girl he loves and two hopeless losers wanting fame from You Tube, the storm turns from the ordinary into the extraordinary as it becomes an uncontrollable monster that could destroy the town.
It’s so hard to give an accurate plot synopsis because, quite frankly, there isn’t one. This is one long, noisy effects movie where plot, character development and human interest are left lying on the floor to be replaced by another giant tornado. Instead of having any real emotional connections with the characters, we watch them do some of the dumbest things ever in the face of adversity, immediately losing the viewer who then starts laughing at them.
The effects are very good, with all kinds of cloud formations and wind funnels building to the mega storm, while the sound effects are almost deafening that you feel you are at the heart of the beast. It does look pretty spectacular. Alas, you cannot hinge a whole movie onto this. There has to be more. The best disaster movies take their time, lets us get to know the characters, however superficial and stereotypical they may be. We have to care if they live or die. Here, we just don’t care at all. In fact, one scene has a character on the verge of dying and you can feel the disappointment when he doesn’t.
We follow the various groups around, them filming as they go but even this doesn’t work. You find yourself wondering who is filming certain shots because this is supposed to be found footage and made up of amateur videos, Yet we have scenes that aren’t so the whole premise goes flying out the window. Then there’s the act of stupidity that happens throughout. One involves the Vice Principal’s son, who has gone to film at a disused mill with a pretty girl he likes. The storm hits and they are thrown down a shaft with metal and concrete on top. The girl has injured her leg, so what does the boy do? He sets up a camera! WHAT? How about trying to get out? How about basic survival?
Then as the film progresses, the shaft starts to fill with water. The couple are shoulder deep with no possible way of escaping. So what do these fools do? They do long speeches to camera!!!! A camera that somehow becomes waterproof!!!! I know we live in a society where everything has to be filmed or photographed but please!
It is filled with unintentional laughs. For example, the storm chasers drive around in a tank-like vehicle, called The Titus but with all the noise going on, it sometimes sounds like Tight Ass and so you get lines like “Everyone into the Tight Ass!” Oh and wonderment among wonderment, this small town made up of suburban homes and farmland (straight out of Twister) also has…an Airport! Of course it does! Cue spectacular effects sequence of planes being lifted into the air by the tornado!
The performances are a range of mediocre to wooden. Richard Armitage, who most will know from The Hobbit, frankly looks embarrassed throughout, as if this was meant to make him a big star but he soon realised that it would probably end up straight to DVD, where it should really have gone. Sarah Wayne Callies, as Allison, a single mum who just happens to be an expert in meteorology, tries her best with the paper-thin script but there’s nothing to do except shout a lot over the noise of the wind.
I have a real soft spot for disaster movies. The Towering Inferno will always be in my list of favourite movies but this is tiresome before it even kicks in. It is loud, dumb and a pointless exercise in a genre (found footage) that died after The Blair Witch Project was released. If you want to waste an hour and a half of your life, then be my guest but don’t complain to me when you come out wondering why you bothered.