Flying dangerously under the radar, Into the Storm finds a dead-eyed documentary crew chasing a supposed “perfect storm” straight to the small town of Silverton, Indiana. There, a husky-voiced Vice Principal (Richard Armitage) attempts to save his two teenage sons from said impending disaster. The whole film (or at least most of it) is shot in the perpetually-shaky-found-footage style which drags the classic battle of man vs. nature into the internet age. The result is something really quite special, in the most awful way imaginable.
Most importantly, Into the Storm is insanely heartless. Following the devastation left behind by the likes of Hurricane Katrina in recent years, one would think New Line and director Steven Quale would handle the film’s real subject with a slightly bigger emotional angst. Yet instead, a clearly clueless Quale helms Storm with the creative subtlety of a fair-ground ride. This is a Transformers without the robots: a heavily under thought and over budgeted mess of computer generated tornadoes tearing homes, towns and lives to pieces.
The horde of mostly-nameless and confused looking characters exist simply as tornado fodder; there is no real plot or emotional arc beyond survival and so, any sense of reason or intelligence is completely blown away. Richard Armitage’s reluctant hero madly dashes from disaster to disaster with Quale so eager to jump to the next attack that he ultimately dissolves any idea of humanity. The result is simple, there is absolutely no dramatic weight to any part of the film. No matter how helpless or needy the characters become, there is no reason to care, because the film is all about the spectacle and it completely sacrifices in the process any chance of ever being even slightly affecting.
The deepest problems the film faces are then, of course, related to its complete lack of spectacle. Quale made the decision to shoot the large majority of the film found-footage style, meaning most of the footage you see on screen is supposedly being shot by the characters themselves. Firstly, this means that throughout, everyone is consistently filming. It doesn’t matter if your friend is about to die, or you’re about to be crushed by a falling tree, everything must be filmed, making every single person holding a camera instantly dislikable and again removing any sense of basic human reason. More importantly, by relying on overtly-shaky point-of-view angles, the sheer scale of the tornados’ destruction is never really captured fully.
It should be clear by now that Into the Storm is nothing but a hideously charmless mess of a movie. Built with a gormless cast by an uncreative team, there is literally nothing good to say about Storm other than that it’s only 90 minutes long. But considering how little thought, heart or reason went into making this, you’ll no doubt still wish it was shorter.
Into The Storm (2014), directed by Steven Quale, is distributed in the UK by Warner Bros., Certificate 12A. Watch the trailer below: