I won’t bore you with what I assume will be the many reviews comparing Into The Storm to Twister. Mostly because it pains me to even mention these two films in the same sentence. So, let’s just leave it at this: Twister is a classic film (one of my personal favorites), with an amazing cast, engaging storyline…hell, it is even an attraction at Universal Studios. Into The Storm, on the other hand, is more comparable to Sharknado: a B-movie, with an expendable cast and cheesy script. Had it not been for the admittedly great CGI/visuals, I could easily see Into The Storm airing on the SyFy channel, though it would need a lot more humor, self-awareness… and sharks.
Following a decade of such tragic weather events as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and the deadly EF5 tornado in Joplin, Mississippi, Into The Storm centers around another rare (read: ridiculous) weather event: multiple tornadoes bearing down on a small town in Oklahoma, culminating in the largest tornado in history. Obviously, everyone in the area is affected by the tornadoes, however, the film focuses on three groups of people. The first is a team of storm chasers/researchers/documentarians led by workaholic Pete (Matt Walsh). Using high-tech equipment, and a vehicle resembling Batman’s tumbler, Pete proves he will stop at nothing to be the first person to get footage inside the eye of a tornado… even if it means putting himself and the rest of his team in harm’s way.
The second group consists of a local family, Gary (Richard Armitage) and his two sons Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress). When Donnie gets separated from his family, it’s up to Gary and Trey to find him and save him. The third, and most ridiculous “victims” of the tornado are daredevil rednecks who do crazy things to get views on YouTube, including driving a four wheeler over a pool that has been lit on fire… and standing in front of a tornado, of course.
The entire film is shot in first-person POV through the lens of numerous character-held cameras. These varying perspectives show the different ways the tornadoes affect the characters, and the conflict between two groups wanting the tornado to touch down (the YouTubers and the storm chasers) and the one group wanting the tornado to go away (Gary and his family).
Unfortunately, even when the situation started getting more and more dangerous, none of the characters were written well enough to make me care about their safety; the stakes were never high. Not only that, there were many times I wondered whether I was supposed to be laughing at the incredible corniness of the film. From referencing a zombie apocalypse in front of Sarah Wayne Callies (who starred in The Walking Dead) to a character’s butt being sucked up through a manhole while the tornado passed overhead, my laughter and eye-rolls took me out of the movie. Believe me, there are many more examples where these came from.
Had Into The Storm been more self-aware, embracing the campy tone of Sharknado, maybe the film would have been slightly more palatable. But, as it stands, this is not worth your time or money. If you’re in the mood for a great tornado film, obviously watch Twister instead. Now I guess we know why Hollywood has waited eighteen years to try to bank on the popularity of Twister. Too bad they didn’t keep waiting.
My Review: D+