Take Twister and twist it into a found footage movie and you will arrive at the final product of Into the Storm. No kidding. At 89 minutes long, this is a short little watch that seems like it was originally pitched for straight-to-cable. The acting is pretty much terrible all around, but I found, to my surprise, that some of the special effects and meteorological elements may just make the movie worthy of an airing on The Weather Channel some day. Or Syfy. I’m still not sure if that’s a compliment.
The movie follows the adventures of a group of storm chasers who haven’t had a good shot in over a year. The team is lead by the sentimental Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies, of Walking Dead fame) and the business driven Pete Moore (Matt Walsh.) The movie is only an hour and a half and most of the problems lie in its opening scenes in which it tries to make you feel for the characters introduced. I give it props for trying. It doesn’t work though. Most of the dramatic work comes off as laughably bad, mostly when it tries to project the straining relationship between the local school’s vice principal (Richard Armitage) and his two sons (Max Deacon, Nathan Kress.) Kress (he was Freddy in iCarly) doesn’t give much of anything to his performance in this movie and he plays basically the same character he played in the Nickelodeon show. On the opposite end is the unknown actor Max Deacon who gives the best performance of the entire movie. His scene in the third act with with his crush Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carrey) is well acted given the surrounding cast in the movie. Everyone else, and yes I include Lori from The Walking Dead, just doesn’t seem care.
That’s also the fault of the script by John Swetnam. It’s cliched and it has some seriously atrocious lines. It has the by-the-books method of including a set of characters for the purpose of comedic relief (in this case it’s a set of hillbillies who track storms for fun that actually comes off as more annoying than anything else.) Also, the way Steven Quale directs his actors and sets everything up makes it feel like it should be a straight-to-cable movie. Also, everyone is so serious in the movie and it never has the so-campy-it’s-actually-awesome feel that movies like it have (looking at you,
It has its moments though. And there are lots of them. The storm scenes look fantastic and I felt that the movie successfully captured the terror of being in the center of a storm. The special effects were strangely awesome at times, especially the scene that involved a fiery tornado. It was all kinds of awesome. It is clearly supposed to be a CGI fest and in that regard, it doesn’t come off as being as good as it could have been. The scenes involving the storms rock, but the camera seems to always shut off (this is a found footage movie, after all) right when the big moments are about to happen. It looks great, and the storms are scary to witness and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t on the edge of my seat during some of the sequences, but it would have nice if there had been more of that as opposed to its focus on characters that are poorly constructed in the first place.
When I walked out of Into the Storm, I was pleasantly surprised because I was actually not looking forward to it at all. It had some seriously awesome moments. See it for the storm scenes, but don’t be surprised when every character says everything with a straight face as if nothing happening on screen is completely ridiculous.
Into the Storm (2014) 89 mins Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references Cast: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callis, Matt Walsh, Nathan Kress, Max Deacon Writer: John Swetnam Director: Steven Quale