Monday, 1 September 2014

Into The Storm: Movie Review

Into The Storm: Movie Review


Cast: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies
Director: Steven Quale

The law of averages says a disaster film has to contain the following elements:

Nature in its full FX fury, people exclaiming they've never seen anything like it, people making extremely stupid decisions which are life-threatening in the face of danger - and a journey of redemption in the face of self-sacrifice.

Thankfully, Into The Storm contains all of those - and very little else.

Set in America (where else), in the city of Silverton, there are more than actual tornadoes going off over one day - there are emotional tornadoes lurking at every turn.

The action focuses on a group of storm chasers, headed up by Matt Walsh's Pete, whose number also includes The Walking Dead star Sarah Wayne Callies' Allison. With the threat of funding being ripped from them after a miserable season, Pete's determined to get the money shot, putting the desire to succeed ahead of the feelings of his crew.

Elsewhere, Richard Armitage's school teacher Gary is trying to pull together the class for an outside graduation, while negotiating problems with his sons, Donny and Trey. And finally into that mix, there are a couple of Jackass loving, Youtube video creating daredevil idiots who are wandering around Silverton, filming.

All of this is the calm before the storm hits...

Into The Storm is exactly what you'd expect - as outlined above, it hits all the tropes and expectations of the genre but falls apart massively when it comes to the one-dimensional characters and their problems. Everyone's practically toting a hand-held camera in this as well, as the powers that be try and use the found footage genre to their advantage, but which slows the pace down as everybody stops to record every few minutes.

Visually, when the storms hit 30 minutes in, the FX work is stunningly well-realised and the destruction is calm and measured, rather than relying on overtly OTT shots (even if potentially some of the science may be a bit shonky). There's a relief when the storms finally hit, because the build up is slow, plodding and distinctly uninteresting. However, Quale (Final Destination 5) chooses to keep cutting away from the destruction (or it just peters out inexplicably) which frustrates, but keeps within the found footage genre. Additionally, the sound was incredibly under-utilized with the effects sounding like they were in a wind-tunnel rather than the fury of nature.

There are hints that sequels are planned (one scientist intones that these storms happen once every few years, rather than once every lifetime - and what could happen if it hits a city like LA or Chicago?) but it's possibly tele-event material ahead for this franchise, rather than long term accolades like with Twister. If the series could find some danger and an edge (it refuses steadfastly to kill off one character when the emotional weight of doing so would lift this much higher up) it could deliver more. (Kudos to the writer who penned the line delivered to Sarah Wayne Callies' character that it's like a zombie apocalypse out there...)

Ultimately, Into The Storm blows a lot of hot air, but delivers a washed-out fizzer rather than a weather-bomb.

Rating:


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