Into the Storm attempts to offer a new ‘twist’ on the disaster film genre with a mash of first person handheld jerky camcorder shots and stunning special effects. But all it does is blow hot wind.
There’s always a straightforward formula to disaster films and that largely consists of a human interest story, massive onscreen destruction and a hopeful ending. Warner Bros’ latest contribution to the genre sticks true to that pattern but with a little added twist.
Taking elements of handheld found footage ala Chronicle and meshing it with on screen action and special effects, Into the Storm is more like a cross between Cloverfield and Twister. But somehow, with wooden characters, lacklustre side stories and a formulaic approach, this disaster films, which ironically centres on tornadoes just fails to sweep anyone off their feet.
The Story: In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. In the midst of all the chaos, a high school principal finds out that his son Donnie is missing and goes on a frantic search for the teenager. In the meantime a group of storm chasers in a tricked out tank-like vehicle called the Titus rolls into town attempting to capture that once-in-a-lifetime up close shot of tornado in action. But unfortunately they have no idea that an ominous super storm is heading their way, which could spell untold death and destruction.
What Worked: The pretty decent special effects and the shots of tornadoes? Apparently, the filmmakers relied on the expertise of professional storm chasers and it shows because the on screen destruction does look impressive.
What Didn’t: The first 20 plus minutes of the film introducing the characters, which ironically is a dragged out and boring affair. We can’t put our finger on it exactly, but it was hard getting emotionally interested in any of the characters that were portrayed on screen. And that unfortunately continued until the end credits rolled.
Minus Points: Stereotypical characters, wooden acting and a general formulaic approach to the disaster/tornado film genre.
Conclusion: Into the Storm had big shoes to step into, because arguably when it comes to tornadoes, moviegoers will benchmark any tornado movie against Twister. Despite being nearly 20 years old, the latter still seems a lot fresher. So is Into the Storm worth a watch? Well, only if you’re a fan of the disaster film genre, maybe.