Into The Storm (2014) – Review

 

Directed by Steven Quale
Written by John Swetnam
Starring Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress

 

I’m sure there is a joke somewhere not a million miles away about some of the reviews for Into The Storm blowing hot air and being full of wind, but I really can’t be bothered. Simply put, for those of you that don’t choose to read six hundred word reviews when something much more concise will do, Into The Storm is nowhere near as bad as you have probably heard. It’s not brilliant, but as myself and my (albeit not too picky) eldest son found out the other morning, it is far from the flop you may have read about.

One of my peers referred recently to Into The Storm as “Twister 2: Even Twistier”. And on reflection having seen the film, I think I know where they are coming from. Up front, I’ll say right away that this is not a thespian playground. This is completely about what you can see, what can be achieved with modern cgi and far, far less about the acting on show. The star, after all, is the storm.

Take one group of freelance professional storm chasers (never understood this curiosity, but y’know, whatever floats your boat, I guess) that have heard that there is likely to be a massive storm heading to the town of Silverton and as it happens, a graduation at the local school on the very same day, we get introduced to both sets of people that are highly likely to be affected by mothers nature’s wrath on this most inclement of days.

Disasters on this scale are rare occurrences indeed so it’s a good thing every man and his dog appears to have a camera to hand in order document the days’ events. We have as good an excuse as any for the schoolkids to be technologically armed in this respect as not only is there a graduation ceremony due to take place but also the school project to which the featured classmates have been assigned also requires them to create a video diary. This means we are afforded the innocent, happy youth at play before all of the shit hits the fan.

We meet assistant principal of the school, Gary (Armitage) and his two sons Donnie and Trey (Deacon and Kress), Donnie’s love interest Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey) and the crew of storm chasers and their heavily featured and even more heavily armoured ‘tank-with-wheels’, ‘Titus’ (point of order, if you can remember the name of the car they are driving in and not the names of the characters in the film, three days after watching it, then something is clearly wrong).

Idiocy on a grand scale, as unprecedented in fact as the storm in question itself, is required in order for this film to work. All of the sensible people are locked up tight in their homes, praying to whatever deity the tug their forelock at that they don’t get sucked off into oblivion, never to be seen again. But not our featured players here. Oh good god no. If it wasn’t for these lunatics, there would be no footage for us to revel safely in from the comfort of our plush theatre seating.

Teenage boys will inevitably do stupid things in order to impress a girl and this is as true an adage here, as Donnie skips out of the graduation ceremony he is supposed to be filming in order to spend some time with Kaitlyn at (wouldn’t you know it) an abandoned mill with very suspect roofing and what can best be described as rudimentary brickwork, at best. Brother Trey is left to film the graduation in ever-worsening weather before the whole thing is cancelled and everyone hightails into the school for shelter. In the meantime, our storm hunters are out, braving the elements in order apparently, to get some decent shots of the typhoon, up close and personal, like.

Not exactly replete with bagfuls of realism, Into The Storm will test your patience with some horrible scripting and frustratingly stupid characters that are predictably under-developed. As mentioned, this is not about the people involved if we’re honest, although admittedly there are a couple of moments that may make you grab for your hanky as you may ‘have something in your eye’. On the whole, however, this is a visual treat that delivers comprehensively. Whilst it does attempt to engage you with the characters, this mostly fails, so don’t go for the heartfelt heroism because while it is there, it is completely overshadowed by the angry weather.

 

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