Ready for a new spin on storm-chasers?
If weak plotting isn’t a big concern, then Into the Storm may be right up your tornado alley.
Despite a relatively compact running time, the film feels like a windy affair, involving a team of desperate twister chasers and a high school full of teens in peril, including a stern assistant principal and his two sons.
But the special effects are quite impressive and diverting, preventing the film from being so much hot air.
Sarah Wayne Callies, of Walking Dead fame, plays meteorological wonder woman Allison. Her petulant boss Pete (Matt Walsh) demands that she use her fancy gizmos to come up with a big blow for his team to video and fast.
Allison pins her hopes on little Silverton, Oklahoma to keep her job and the wind gods are more than happy to oblige with a multi-funnelled extravaganza.
Meanwhile, stern widower dad Gary (Richard Armitage) is too distracted to realize he’s treating sons Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress, star of Nickelodeon’s iCarly) too gruffly.
Script writer John Swetnam employs the increasingly hackneyed “found footage” concept — just about everyone in the film fortuitously has a camera on hand as the wind blows — while resorting to another tired trope, pointlessly giving captions to even the most minor of players in the film.
But the film’s biggest misstep — again, courtesy of Swetnam — is the introduction of two hayseed characters, Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep) who happily and drunkenly revel outside as the storm sends everyone else screaming and running for cover. If these two guys were meant to be comic relief, they fail utterly in the task.
The film is bound to be compared Twister, the 1996 film about two rival storm-chasing gangs that is much better plotted. But Into the Storm is far superior in one sense, the special effects and their evocation of the raw and destructive power of nature.
The cast of Into the Storm is actually pretty solid and appealing, particularly Deacon and Kress as the two brothers and Callies as the plucky tornado expert.
But despite the plethora of impressive visuals, Into the Storm comes close to being — with apologies to Shakespeare’s Macbeth — a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.