Into the Storm is one of those films you should definitely see on the big screen while you can. Although it is terribly flawed, it still has the capacity to terrorize you as you watch tornados tear through a small town in Oklahoma.
While this movie is actually a solid thriller, it has a ton of flaws that would have made this a much stronger film if corrected. Each time a new character is introduced in the beginning of the film, their name and a description is at the bottom left corner of their screen as if this were a documentary. That would be fine except it is not being shot like one and the name idea disappears as the movie progresses. Then when they stop doing the names, the movie starts acting like one of the characters is filming everything you see with a handheld camera. It is very odd. They either should have focused on shooting it mockumentary style or just as a suspense film with
There is also some weird character choices going on. There is a random sexual tension scene between Sarah Wayne Callis' character Allison and the dad of the two teenage boys in the film, although perhaps there is not supposed to be. The script sets up a romantic story line between Donnie and the girl he likes at school, yet no matter what circumstances are thrown at them they never admit their feelings, kiss, or pursue each other. On the other side, the two adult characters (one of which does not even live in the town and is trying to get home to her young daughter) almost seem as if they are flirting. Nothing happens with either of these couples, so why add in the romantic factor? They should have either had the two teenagers realize their feelings in times of peril or made it so they were friends. It was as if the writers were told they needed romance for it to be a decent film, but only half-heartedly threw some in there without actually going through with it. On an unrelated weird character note, there is one camera operator for the storm chasers named Lucas who serves zero purpose to the film. In fact, you literally forget he exists through the entire film until you see him jump in someone's car near the ending. The storm chaser's story shows the other two camera men heavily throughout the run of the movie, but choose to never have him even speak. His character could have been totally eliminated and nothing would be different.
With all the bad choices made behind the scenes of this movie, there is also a lot of awesome things happening on screen. The way they chose to imply the terror of the tornados was downright brilliant. Instead of just showing people get grabbed by the winds and sucked up into the funnel (although that happens once and looks very CGI-ed), they work hard to make you feel as if you saw the violence on screen without actually witnessing it. To explain without giving anything away, the first scene in the film shows teenagers in a car spot a tornado at night, and then you immediately see them being tossed around inside the car from the POV of a handheld camera. They whip back and forth past the screen and then the camera shuts off. There is a lot of that technique in the film, and it is executed in a way that makes you actually excited when another tornado comes barreling towards these chracters you are getting attached to.
You do get attached to the characters, despite the subpar writing. In the first half of the film it is hard to relate to the characters because it seems everyone is having family drama. There was far too much parent-loathing in the film. However, as these people are put in the face of danger, your heart starts racing and you actually find yourself panicking that they might not make it.
Into the Storm has many faults, but the movie picks up as it progresses and has the ability to leave you on the edge of your seat. Because of the weather graphics, you should definitely try to see this in the theater if you are interested in checking it out. Besides, if none of the special effects or characters do it for you, you can always go to try to find the very subtle nod to "The Walking Dead" thrown in Sarah Wayne Callis' direction.