When I saw the trailer for “Into The Storm” I was sceptical, it looked a bit like “Gravity” to me, in that it seemed as though it would have good visual effects but nothing else. There are people out there who might think that comparing a movie to the Oscar-winning “Gravity” is pretty high praise, given its success, but I am not one of those people, to say that I disliked that particular film would be a massive understatement. On that note, “Into The Storm” is a clichéd mess of a film, and despite its grand nature I wouldn’t recommend seeing it in a cinema. There isn’t actually a lot to it and the effects aren’t groundbreaking enough to warrant paying the price of the ticket. This movie feels as though it belongs on a dodgy daytime television channel rather than the big screen, and you would only watch it at home if there was absolutely nothing else on. This film doesn’t have that much going for it, so if you see it you really shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that it’s complete garbage.
You don’t have to be a storm chaser to figure out the plot of this movie, just watch “Twister” or “The Day After Tomorrow” and you’re halfway there, except this film is slightly less interesting and has a much lower level of acting. “Into The Storm” is about Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) trying to find his son in the midst of a storm that is ‘bigger than any storm that has ever been’ (I’m directly quoting a line from the trailer there, that’s the standard of writing we’re working with). In the process he crosses paths with a group of documentary filmmakers who are carelessly following the storm, and things only get more ridiculous from there. I’ll admit that written down the story doesn’t sound all that bad, but we aren’t talking about a journey through a panicked city filled with exciting action sequences and massive destruction. We’re talking about a lot of shaky cameras, multiple tornadoes doing as little damage to any interesting structures as possible, indestructible main characters who should’ve died ten times over, completely deserted streets, and a lot of predictable dialogue such as ‘oh my god’ and ‘this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen’. There were moments in “Into The Storm” where the characters said things that were just plain idiotic; ‘he’s not breathing’, when a character has been drowning for about five minutes, or ‘I don’t have any signal’ (I don’t get signal when I go to my kitchen, never mind getting signal in the eye of a tornado). This film could’ve been written by a secondary school student and directed by a monkey.
“Into The Storm” is such an unintelligent movie, plagued with clichés and ridiculous plot points. The token storm chasers seem to know all there is to know about their field, yet they aren’t successful and they don’t come across as intellectual at any point. The film only flirts with the idea of a “love story”, and when it does things get quite boring. Donnie Fuller (Max Deacon) and Kaitlyn Johnson (Alycia Debnam-Carey) are good looking teenagers, they go to the same school and they’re approaching graduation, but we’re led to believe that they have never had a proper conversation. The former is the main character’s son (we haven’t seen that before – just pretend “The Day After Tomorrow” didn’t happen), and his acting isn’t exactly brilliant. There’s something so absurd about his character, he speaks calmly and is expressionless for the majority of the movie, even though he’s in a terrible situation with someone that he barely knows. The handiness in the fact that Donnie decides to make a move on the love of his life on the day that all Hell breaks loose is just ridiculous, and you feel that it’s just a convenient way to move the story forward. The way that the “love story” culminates says everything about this film, it really is bizarre, all that Donnie’s effort amounts to is a hug and Kaitlyn deciding that he is ‘sweet’, how humiliating! He puts his life at risk just to find the friend-zone!
The trailer for “Into The Storm” was slightly deceptive, because it disguised the fact that it was advertising a found footage movie. I was actually really annoyed by that and felt slightly cheated, because the only found footage film I’ve ever enjoyed is “Paranormal Activity”, and if I had known that this was going to be filmed through a series of handheld cameras I probably wouldn’t have wasted my money. A movie like this just doesn’t work as a found footage film; there’s no way that these characters would be so reckless as to stand and stare at a tornado, camera in hand; their lives are in genuine danger. What’s even more absurd is that some scenes aren’t shot through handheld cameras or cameras mounted to vehicles! For instance, when an extremely large tornado threatens to kill our heroes towards the end of the movie, we see footage that couldn’t possibly have been filmed by anyone (not if they valued their lives). I really don’t understand why you would ruin the majority of a film with found footage if you aren’t going to fully commit to it.
The special effects in this film were quite good, the tornadoes started off looking fairly menacing and they were complimented by the heightened sound in the cinema, so I was hoping for some interesting visuals. However, as the film progressed the computer generated imagery lost all of its power and became extremely tedious, because we only saw tornadoes. There just wasn’t enough variety. A storm isn’t made up of six or seven tornadoes which get progressively bigger, there’s thunder, lightning, heavy rain, fog; things which if used correctly could’ve made this movie a lot more interesting. The effects were all that this film had going for it so the fact that they weren’t absolutely amazing meant that “Into The Storm” was a really unpleasant movie to watch.
None of the performances in this movie are good. None of them. I have seen certain reviews approving the performances of one or two actors, particularly Matt Walsh for his role as Pete Moore, but being the best of a bad bunch isn’t high praise. I actually felt that Matt Walsh didn’t seem to care about what he was doing for the majority of the film, and maybe that’s why some people thought he was okay, because he didn’t take his part too seriously, but I just thought that he seemed uninterested. It was a shame that Richard Armitage was so poor in this film, because he is a good actor. In “Spooks” he is excellent, he really won the audience over after replacing one of the most loved characters on the show. However, his accent in this movie is unforgivable. He only sounds American at the end of each sentence, as if he’s struggling to get the accent right until he’s said a few words for practice. A lot of the time he just sounded like he does in “The Hobbit”, which was extremely distracting and it was just embarrassing to watch. Sarah Wayne Callies was awful as Allison Stone, she has no personality and isn’t likeable in any way whilst on screen; it continues to baffle me that she gets casted for anything.
“Into The Storm” also suffers from a complete lack of character development and emotion; I made no connections with any of the characters and I know nothing about any of the their pasts or motives. The death of the Gary Fuller’s wife is thrown around every now and again in conversation, yet we never get any real understanding of the situation and I felt no sympathy for him given the terrible acting. It’s as though the filmmakers thought that mentioning the tragedy would make us care about his character, but that’s just senseless. I couldn’t care less about what happened to this man’s wife because I couldn’t care less about him! If you want me to give a damn then you should give your character a personality, you can’t make me sympathise with him if I know nothing about him. For all I know this man could be a complete monster who didn’t truly love his wife at all. Obviously that’s not a genuine possibility for the character, but if the writers aren’t willing to give him a persona then I will, and I won’t be kind.
Despite its numerous problems, “Into The Storm” did have two really memorable death scenes. The deaths themselves were quite clearly about to happen, so there wasn’t even the slightest element of surprise, but they were very cool. The tornado of fire was one of the best visuals on the trailer and I was glad that something interesting happened with it in the film, however, no one in their right mind would go anywhere near it. The film tried to give the character a reason to risk his life, but that reason was so stupid that it was laughable. If there is ever a television programme on the best movie deaths then one of the deaths in this movie might find its way onto it, but the film as a whole might make its way onto a similar programme, listing the worst films of 2014.
“Into The Storm” isn’t a good movie. There are lots of things out there on Netflix and Sky Movies which are much more worthy of your time and your money, so I’d recommend giving it a miss. However, I didn’t walk out of the theatre feeling let down by it, because frankly I was expecting something pretty bad to begin with. The cast was average, the story seemed silly, and the whole premise has been done thousands of times before. I went to see the film mostly out of curiosity, hoping that it might be a little better than it looked on the trailer, but I’m afraid that what you see is what you get in this case. If you want to see a movie for cheap thrills then fine, turn your brain off, relax, and you might be able to forgive the terrible directing and awful acting; but if you do see “Into The Storm” you have to be aware that it’s just a glorified television movie which happens to have a few big budget tornadoes trying, and failing, to keep you interested.