I was excited for Into the Storm to come out on August 8th, its been a long while since a decent disaster film came out that wasn’t related to a biblical story or originated on SyFy. I loooooove disaster films, they’re much better at scaring me than actual horror films, just because disaster strikes on a regular, real basis, unlike a crazed, unstable serial killer whose got it out for some randy teenagers. Not to mention, I’m no longer a teenager, and I am not a cop, and have yet to be exposed to a psychopath, so you know, in my mid twenties, I think I’m safe.
Although, ironically enough, Into the Storm opens with your basic dumb teenagers being swept away in a twister because they weren’t smart enough to get in the car and get the hell out of the street when they saw power lines dropping like Raid-ridden flies. What’s really interesting about this take on a disaster film is that it takes hand-held POV camera shots to a new level. There is no real shakiness to any of the film, because for once you see people use tripods (by the amateur students that just so happen to be filming a time capsule for their father who is the Vice Principal of their school) and anti-shake cameras (by the professional storm chasers). What makes Into the Storm even cooler though, is that we have about 3-4 separate stories going on during the film, all of which intertwine intermittently throughout the short 89 minute film, which makes the movie blow by. (ehehe, get it?)
It’s a fun, fast-paced, nail biter that I think might give it’s older sister Twister a run for her money (and yes we have a flying cow in this film as well). Our cast, is composed of a single, over bearing father (mentioned above, played by Richard Armitage) his two high school-aged sons (Max Deacon and Nathan Kress aka Freddy from iCarly), the girl that one of the boys have an obligatorily crush on (Alycia Debnam Carey); a team of storm chasers which include the heartless, get anything for the shot Pete played by Matt Walsh, two new comers to the team that seem to have no luck (Sarah Wayne Callies and Jeremy Sumpter) and two seasoned camera men, one token black college student (Arlen Escarpeta, previously seen in Final Destination 5 and Friday the 13th as pretty much the same character) and one older white man who had such short screen time, I thought he was an actual crew member of the film, until he was addressed ONCE by Pete. Oh and there is also these two hill billies that end up chasing after the storm while pounding back numerous beers. They are simply the comic relief of the movie, but add to the fun thanks to Kyle Davis as “Donk” and Jon Reep as Reevis. The acting over all is fine, there are a few scenes that are intolerable, but they usually have the newer actors in them, so it’s forgivable. The best performances by far go to the young Nathan Krass and Matt Walsh, with Max Deacon a close third for only one very heart-shattering scene where he and his crush are *spoilers, it’s a damn disaster film* face to face with their own slow death of water slowly filling an inescapable basement.
What really steals the show though are the mass amount of twisters and the sheer destruction they leave in their wake. I mean you go into a disaster film hoping to see destruction and mass chaos, and the movie delivers, which is why I find it hard to believe that Rotten Tomatoes scored it as low as a 21% by critics and 50% by audiences. The film set out to show the audience what a handful of repeating circulation storm clouds can do to one poor county: the chaos when the sirens hit, running to safety, praying to the gods that it won’t hit you, and of course, the clean up afterwards.
One of the most interesting scenes for me took place in the school as everyone at an outside graduation ceremony took cover in the hallways and covered their heads. A drill any Mid-Western kid would be familiar with. So I sat there, on pins and needles waiting to see if they would survive the tornado coming straight for them, because you know, that could have been me or you in our childhood. That scene is worth the price of admission alone, because of how terrifying and realistic it is.
Into the Storm, for me, as an Ohioan girl who had to hide away in basements and take shelter in the hallways of her high school, was very frightening and delivered exactly what I wanted, but for others, who may not have that same innate fear of terrible storms and tornadoes, they might find the film foolish and unrelatable because they never lived through the fear of losing everything in this manner. I had saw this film with a friend who lived in Mexico for the majority of his life, which I believe does not have tornadoes (maybe just those terrifying hurricanes?) and while I was on the edge of my seat, he was occasionally chuckling at a tornado demolishing a bakery. So there’s the big difference on if you will be the audience that will either enjoy the film or hate it.
So if you’ve ever lived through a storm scare in your life, you might want to check out a controlled setting of it in Into the Storm, you might just have yourself a nice little fright and take away some handy tips for your next storm. Oh and one more thing, I totally ended up being chased by a severe storm right after I left the movie theater as well, check out my tweet with the photo.