UK Release Date: 22nd August 2014
Runtime: 89 minutes
Director: Steven Quale
Writer: John Swetnam
Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam-Carey
Synopsis: A team of storm chasers and a meteorologist join a desperate father as they all attempt to survive in the face of a freakishly huge tornado.
Found footage movies must be reaching saturation point by now. Originally a preserve of the horror genre, the gimmick is now bleeding out into other varieties of film. Into the Storm is the disaster movie’s injection of hidden recordings, but it’s an utterly forgettable film that really doesn’t need any help to make the cameras shake.
Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) is the meteorologist helping to predict tornadoes for storm-chasing filmmaker Pete (Matt Walsh). They trace an abnormally large storm to a small town in Oklahoma, where Vice Principal Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) is dealing with the tribulations of graduation day. Fuller’s son Trey (Nathan Kress) is missing in action after his attractive classmate Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey) asks for help with a video assignment. When the storm hits, the disparate groups must work together to survive.
Into the Storm is a mess of a movie. In its early stages, it sets up several different groups of characters – all of whom are paper-thin. When the tornadoes first start to hit ground, there isn’t a single person involved to provide an anchor point. There are moments of tension, but these come much later in the movie and are over in a matter of moments.
| "If the tornado’s coming your way, you’re not gonna know it."
The film also suffers from the fact that it has no faith in its found footage gimmick. Rather than using the format to place the audience in the centre of the action, the film simply places cameras everywhere. As a result, it’s impossible to tell who is filming the events at any given point and it’s very easy to forget that the film is found footage at all, even though clunky reminders appear every ten minutes or so.
There is something to be said about Into the Storm, though, in that it does feature some impressive special effects. Even as the film’s events become increasingly preposterous, the spectacle is genuinely exciting. As twisters divide, combine and even catch fire, there’s plenty for the cameras to point at, if only they’d bothered to invest in a tripod or two.
Unfortunately, there’s no reason to care about this spectacle because the characters are almost entirely loathsome. Richard Armitage – free of his dwarf beard from The Hobbit – is hopelessly bland as the leading man and any hint of chemistry between him and Sarah Wayne Callies is contrived and unnatural. The young cast simply turn the voices up to eleven as a replacement for acting and a small bunch of YouTube-loving rednecks fail to provide laughs.
| "I’ve studied storms all my life. This one is bigger than any storm there’s ever been."
Into the Storm is a film that is doomed to live in the shadow of Twister, which is still the work that is synonymous with tornadoes in cinema. It tries very hard to make an impact, but it’s doomed to simply float away in the breeze.
Pop or Poop?
Hamstrung by its tired found footage gimmick and wooden acting performances, Into the Storm is a depressingly dull movie that makes its 90 minutes feel like three hours.
Richard Armitage is far more charismatic with a beard to hide behind and his supporting cast is mainly populated by noisy kids and even noisier rednecks.
Thankfully, no one will remember it next week.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.