Into the Storm (2014)

Into the Storm (2014)
  • Time: 89 min
  • Genre: Action | Thriller
  • Director: Steven Quale
  • Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Richard Armitage, Jeremy Sumpter


In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot.


  • In 1996, the film Twister employed a hollow screenplay as an excuse to display the then impressive special effects from Industrial Light and Magic. And now, 18 years later, Into the Storm repeats the formula with bad performances, excessively bland direction and a weak screenplay. However, I have to admit that the movie offers brilliant special effects, which made me feel sorry for the fact that they weren’t part of a better film. In other words, the moments which Into the Storm dedicates to its characters are increasingly irritating and boring. But when we listen to the sound of the wind and the roar of the tornadoes, we can appreciate the digital magic, which is an end by itself in here. As for the characters, they represent the range of stereotypes we have seen in many disaster movies: the brave scientists with all the answers (even though nobody listens to them); the youngsters in love in danger of getting separated; the stoic hero with family problems; the ignorant louts who don’t take the risk seriously until it’s too late; and the villain who puts his interests above other people’s lives (even though he eventually has the opportunity to redeem himself). In conclusion, I can’t recommend Into the Storm, because even though the special effects are excellent, it fails in its screenplay, direction and performances.

  • “Look at the size of that thing!
    We’re gonna be YouTube stars
    for the rest of our lives!
    Better than sex, Donk!
    How would you know?”

    Tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons. Divorced men sometimes even compare them with their ex-wife: they appear suddenly, they disappear suddenly and before you know it you lost everything and are left behind penniless. So these are phenomena you don’t want to encounter too much. Apparently it’s the fault of a global warming (which must be in other corners in the world because where I live it’s still cold, chilly and mostly wet) that causes tornadoes to appear so often and primarily plague the US mainland. Here in Europe fortunately we have less problems with it. Eating soup with kidney beans will cause more commotion and turbulence than these natural phenomena. The tornado you can admire in “Into the storm” is of an exceptional caliber and you can hardly call it a “storm in a teacup”. But if it was the intention to surpass the movie “Twister” from 1986, then they failed in all areas. It’s a sad attempt, stuffed with boring cliches, terrible performances with boring and sometimes idiotic dialogues, now and then really bad CGI and nonsensical situations.

    Pete (Matt Walsh) and his team are a group of professional “Storm Chasers”. They have been on the road for a terrible long time, trying to film the eye of a hurricane. Apparently he has contracted the wrong academic counselor because Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies), a single mother and climatologist, succeeds in sending them in the wrong direction every time. So they always show up to late and the devastating hurricane already packed his bags, to the annoyance of Pete who sees his financial sponsorship gradually drying up due to the lack of results. Eventually they end up in Silverton where a super-storm apparently will strike. Here we meet a typical family with the death boring father Gary (Richard Armitage) and his two teenage sons Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress). You can say that their family situation is quite stormy.

    First, lets start with the positive things.
    The opening scene was perfect. A tasty begin that made me lean back in anticipation of an entertaining evening while watching a natural disaster. A bunch of teenagers swallowed by an oncoming tornado, led directly to the right atmosphere. Unfortunately, however, it remained with this particular moment.
    The two hillbillies took care of the hilarious part. Two clodhoppers racing through the countryside with a quad, handling a handy-cam and smartphone so they can make the perfect film of the storm, which they can post on You Tube so they become world famous and rich. A splendid duo that made me think of a “Dumb and Dumber” variant located in a disaster movie.
    Some sequences with the raging tornado was eye candy. It looked real and the made destructions were imaged effectively. Especially the airport scene was prime. I was just wondering why such a small village needed such a mega-airport.

    Which part was bad in this film? Actually, just about the rest. First, the untold number of cliches they swept together. A short list: the disinterested father coping with his sons, the son who’s still dealing with the loss of his mother and blames his father, the impossible love who looks down on the nerd Donnie (with such an indignant look) at the beginning and you already can guess how this eventually will work out, trees that just happened to be blocking the last bus in a long line (and only the protagonists were sitting in it initially. Perfectly organized !), the father who’s dominated by the headmaster but in the end puts him in his place, again a single mother and a lonely father and how they grow to each other is also so predictable. Secondly, the poor performances. Some dialogues felt so forced and uninspired. Sometimes it seemed like a soap opera that took place in a disastrous situation. With the ultimate heartbreaking moment when Gary saves Donnie and they fall into each others arms. The fact that most of them are only known from TV series, says enough.

    Third, one can’t exceed such a brilliant film like “Twister”, which was impressive and original even though it’s a film from the 80’s, by simply showing four tornadoes raging simultaneously on the screen. And the way they appeared and disappeared, was also a bit exaggerated. And who remembers the flying, mooing cows in “Twister” ? Such hilarious moments were non-existent in “Into the Storm”. Fourth, the CGI was not that impressive. A heap of Dinky Toys models that were blown together and buildings looking like cardboard boxes being destroyed. Fifth: the end with the immense pipeline under the road was too bizarre for words. Due to the immense suction, everyone had to cling onto something. But still there was someone standing in the background, filming everything. Astounding!

    Conclusion: A faint duplicate of the movie “Twister”, without conviction and swagger. It was even necessary to take part in the “Footage” hype of today. The dumb duo was the only bright spot in this film in my opinion. So, you have some spare time and nothing to do, then this is an alternative to waste your time. But there’s really nothing in this film that will blow you away ….

  • Into the Storm (the 2014 release I’m about to review) is about tornadoes and there are lots of them. Compared with the ones featured in 1996’s Twister, they are far more terrifying putting you the viewer, in a much more heighten state of fear. The special effects used to project “Storm’s” assortment of horrific natural disasters are realistic, standardized, yet somewhat over exaggerated (it’s just not fathomable that there would be 5-6 normal sized funnel clouds followed by one ginormous F5er all in one town location). Unfortunately, if you take the eye-popping gimmicky away from Into the Storm’s shockingly brief makeup (its running time tops out at a cookie cutter themed 89 minutes) the film as a whole, is virtually unwatchable. I almost walked out of “Storm’s” first act in which almost nothing happens. And to be honest, I decided to stay in the theater only to harbor feelings of wanting to throw popcorn at the screen, a screen that seemed to be littered with silly, all too familiar, cloned up characters (or as I like to call them, caricatures).

    Copying 1999’s The Blair Witch Project by having the main protagonists do a video confessional right before they die (or almost die), containing an uneven mix of humor and heavy action/drama (believe me, it wasn’t needed) and relaying a tired, annoying adage in which most of the cast has to film everything (and everyone) regardless of the horrific peril or danger they are in, Into The Storm begins with two intertwining stories. One involves a group of storm chasers led by Pete (an extremely unlikable lad played by Matt Walsh). They’ve been unable to locate any type of tornado activity and because of their limited budget, their time in terms of funding, has virtually run out. The other story involves a graduation of high school students in the small town of Silverton which I guess is in Oklahoma (naturally). Even though this high school has a principal, the vice principal seems to be the more vocal role (the vice principal’s name is Gary Morris and he is played by Richard Armitage. His character is sort of a poor man’s version of Dennis Quaid’s Jack Hall from The Day After Tomorrow). The two stories come together via the second act when both groups of people somehow meet in Silverton. The high school students (and their parents) just wanna seek shelter while the storm chasers wanna capture footage of funnel clouds that would make Antie Em herself jealous (“it’s a twister! it’s a twister!”). Eventually, everyone involved becomes trapped and seized by a host of tornado barrages designed to get nastier and nastier each time (look for a scene where a twister picks up a host of 747’s weighing thousands of tons and hurls them all over the place. It’s pretty freaky).

    As mentioned earlier, Into the Storm is about twenty minutes shorter than your average disaster movie. Therefore, character’s personas aren’t developed or fleshed out. The result: You don’t know enough about these terrified victims to care about their well being or invest in what happens to them. You do however, want to yell through the screen and say to them, “find a basement for gosh sakes! You guys have heard of basements right!?”

    Along with poor character development comes Into the Storm’s biggest misstep which stems from the fact that it is poorly acted by novices (almost everyone was cast through an open audition, huh? For a big summer blockbuster of a movie like this?). These unknown actors or actresses have a main job and that is to basically bring their characters to life. That unfortunately doesn’t quite occur here. And it doesn’t help that the script these people are saddled with, contains dialogue suited more for a sitcom (without a laugh track no less) as opposed to an actual movie. Then, we have “Storm’s” openness of being virtually originality free. It rips off everything from 1974’s Earthquake to the previously mentioned Twister (1996) to 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow to 1978’s Avalanche. Oh and don’t get my started on the fact that what we have here is yet again, a freaking found footage/documentary type flick. If you’ve witnessed the look and feel of The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Project X, Quarantine and those goofy Paranormal Activity exercises, well get ready for more of the same with Into The Storm. What’s worse is that its found footage contained doesn’t really look like found footage. Therefore, we as an audience can’t tell whether we are watching what one of the characters shot or I guess, the actual cameraman behind the scenes. Truthfully, if this whole film was deemed completely hand-held camera schlock, well it comes off about as inconsistent as you could ever imagine.

    All in all, this vehicle’s amazing visual wonderment can’t hide the fact that it contains cliched characters (the dad who lost his wife and has to take care of his sons who he has no connection with, blah blah blah) in cliched situations (the shy, nice guy tries to win the heart of the hot girl who never talks to him. Oh and they get trapped in a bad place while waiting for someone to save them) saying cliched dialogue (see the “of note” section of my review). I’m a disaster flick junkie so I decided to (gulp) go anyway despite the 20% notation on good old Rotten Tomatoes. Bad move. During the second half of Into the Storm, an unemployed, drunk townie jokingly says, “I was in the tornado man and it really sucked!” Same goes for the movie if you completely take away its special effects. These special effect shots, which are the only thing “Storm” really has going for it, are its equivalency of a nutrition free, fattening meal ticket. So in conclusion, skip the opening thirty minutes, turn your brain off when the actors attempt to speak, or just avoid taking in a viewing all together. Because this is justifiably an early August dud. Just call it “Vista Twista.”

    Of note: (spoiler alerts) You know the clip in “Storm’s” trailer where a helicopter gets sucked up by a tornado thereby throwing itself at defenseless, toothpick constructed buildings. Well that carnage is never shown in the actual movie. Oh and look for the ending where Into the Storm tries to inject some comic relief through the interpretation of two nimrod, adrenaline junkies. After families are ruined, homes are destroyed, and certain people lie dead, it comes off as totally inappropriate. Finally, I pronounce that Into the Storm becomes the movie equivalent of a drinking game via college students and other assorted party animals. Every time a character says, “you gotta take a look at this” or “let’s get out of here,” you have to take a sip of beer. Classic!

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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