I liked Into the Storm, but I have to admit that it is chock-full of Hollywood cliches. The movie follows a group of various people who all converge together when this huge storm hits a small Oklahoma town. There's Gary (Richard Armitrage), the lackluster suburban dad who hasn't been involved in the lives of his two sons (Max Deacon and Nathan Kress) since his wife's death. Then there's the group of storm trackers, led by Pete (Matt Walsh), who will do absolutely anything to find and film tornadoes. And finally, there are a group of rednecks who run around all over the place for "comic relief." All of these characters end up fighting to survive together when the biggest storm in history demolishes Silverton, Oklahoma.
Into the Storm is a simple movie, but it's an entertaining movie, one that has something to offer to the audience (unlike another movie that I saw this week). It's a thrilling B-movie and the story hooks you in. I can't say that I'll ever feel compelled to watch it again, but while I was watching Into the Storm, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The disaster sequences are vivid and frightening and actually pretty exciting. The use of shaky cam is often terrible, but I really wasn't bothered by it in this film as much as I have been in others. In the end, I won't remember Into the Storm a week from now, yet I still enjoyed it while I was in the theater.
Into the Storm is a fun movie on a pure spectacle level. The action is really exciting, the set up is very well-done and the storm effects are simply astounding at times. The first act of this movie builds tension very well and I was interested to see where the story would head next. The dialogue wasn't profound or well-written, but it was serviceable to start the film off. I also very much enjoyed the final act of this film. The big storm sequences are breathtaking and I liked the action a lot. However, this movie just hits a brick wall whenever it tries to be profound. The movie over-estimates how much the audience cares about the characters and it just falls apart at times.
This movie is very much a cut-and-paste Hollywood thriller. It really feels like the studio executives got around a table and just combined a bunch of their assets that they had lying around and made a movie out of it. Throw in some relatively unknown actors, a director who has only directed one Final Destination movie and finally add some tornado effects and you've got a movie that will easily make money. Into the Storm is good when it's fun. It's not good when it tries to add a believable human element into the mix. There are some truly cringe-worthy scenes that I can't believe made it into the final cut.
There are two scenes in this movie that are especially bad. The first takes place about halfway through the movie. Two teens look like they're about to die and they have a camera with them (it's a found-footage film, of course they have a camera), so they decide to film a final message to their parents. And it is an awful scene. The movie wants to make you cry but you don't care that much about the characters and you know that they're going to live.
The other incredibly awful scene comes at the end of the movie and made me so very very angry. Into the Storm's third act is really good. It's thrilling and I truly enjoyed myself. One of the main plot points of the movie involves Max Deacon's character creating a time capsule. At the beginning of the movie, he's shown filming various people and they all have these lofty goals in life or they have a really cynical viewpoint. At the end of the movie, we return to the characters and because of this massive storm system, their views on life have changed. They're all about enjoying life and taking it one day at a time. It was infuriating. This movie has freaking fire tornadoes and then it wants to suddenly make a statement on how sacred life is. It's frustrating and idiotic.
As much as this review has focused on the negative aspects of the film, I actually quite enjoyed this movie at times. It had its moments and the third act is especially impressive. If the filmmakers could have toned down the whole human element at times, I would have liked this movie a lot more. The tornado effects are great and the action is thrillingly realized. Anytime tornadoes were wreaking havoc, I was into this movie, but anytime there were humans on screen, I couldn't have cared less. Into the Storm is not a memorable film and it isn't a good one either, but it has enjoyable moments and for that, it gets a passing grade.
THE FINAL GRADE: C+ (6.1/10)