Directed by: Steven Quale
Back in 1996, we watched as Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton chased down the mother of all twisters in an amazing film that made those of us who don’t live in the mid-West so happy that we didn’t live there. Now, today, we have Into The Storm an amped-up, pale imitation of that film that substitutes an excess of CGI action and histrionics for story and acting. There we had a couple of storm chasers looking for a stage 5 Twister, here we have a documentarian looking to park his state-of-the-art militarized storm-chaser tank-like vehicle in the middle of a twister so that he can experience the eye of the storm. All of this is wrapped around graduation day in the town of Silverton, just before it is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of a string of killer tornadoes.
Even as the entire town is at the mercy of these erratic and deadly cyclones, the team of storm trackers realize that the worst of it all is yet to come. Meanwhile while most people seek shelter, others (including a couple of drunk, unemployed yahoos intent on recording themselves defying the storm and getting it posted to YouTube, ala Jackass). All the while, the storm chasers run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. The underlying “story” here is a pair of teens are attempting to tape a story about the unsafe environmental conditions at the old paper mill just outside of town. The video is the senior project of Allison (Callies), only much of her footage was corrupted so Donnie (Max Deacon) offers to help her re-shoot the footage.
Only the Twister(s) hit knocking out both the school (where his dad is holding graduation), and the print plant where they are shooting. Once the dad (Armitage) realizes that Donny is at the plant he and his younger son, Trey (Kress) hot-foot it to the plant. Along the way they cross paths with the Storm chasers, and all the loose ends tie up in one great big Gordian knot. (Sigh) Unfortunately, what we have here is one catastrophic event tumbling pell-mell into the next as the film rushes haphazardly towards the hour and 30 minute mark so it can mercifully end and release it’s trapped audience out in to the theater’s lobby. Yeah, sure we like big blockbuster, slam-bang action flicks chock-a-block full of all sorts of fantastic digitized SPFX, only it would really be nice if the story made any sense. Here we are treated to a confusing mix-up of point-and-shoot hand-held cam-shots and professional cinematography tricked up to appear to be POV hand-held cams (there is even one point where a couple of characters are talking to a camera that simply shouldn’t be there, especially as it makes no sense for it to be there in the first place).
Hence what we wind up is nothing more than a cacophonous Sturm und Drang that sadly, might be exciting to look at, but signifies nothing.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.