Into the Storm (2014)
Editor’s Notes: Into the Storm is now playing in wide theatrical release.
Why do we go to the movies? Ask anyone and you will get a variety of answers: to escape reality, have fun, enjoy explosions/special effects, favorite actor/actress, favorite filmmaker, etc. During the opening act of Into the Storm you may ask yourself, “Why did I want to see this movie??” You may have heard this already, Into the Storm resembles the production and entertainment value of a SyFy movie - this is not a compliment. It’s an odd predicament because Into the Storm is a straight-faced disaster film that takes itself far too seriously.
Into the Storm is a straight-faced disaster film that takes itself far too seriously.
The audience is introduced to a pair of teenage brothers. You won’t remember their names so we’ll call them friend zone brother (Max Deacon) and maniac brother (Nathan Kress). Friend zone brother is self-explanatory, maniac brother because he carries a hunting knife to school. Why does maniac brother carry a knife? Surely it’s not so he can pull it out during a timely moment in the film, he HAS to be a maniac! Their father is the school’s vice principal played by The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage. The brothers must record time capsule videos for the school, thus introducing the element of POV footage. Steven Quale (Director) employs POV footage along with traditional footage captured with a camera crew with dollys and such. Friend zone brother ditches school so he can slip further into the friend zone with hot girl (Alycia Debnam Carey) A storm places everyone in danger through various areas in this midwestern community. Throw some storm chasers into the mix and you have a movie that bites off far more than it can chew.
Into the Storm suffers due to shallow characters with vacant performances. Quale attempts to elevate the stakes by placing friend zone brother and hot girl in a helpless situation but they’re so boring that the audience has zero investment in them. Emotional beats are played with a straight face but if this were a race; every single performer in this film drops the emotional baton. Each actor has some experience. Is this poor direction? Poor performances? All of the above? Why are we still talking about this??
The movie contains several unintentional comedic moments that could have made this film a fun, campy time if not for the serious tone of the film. There’s a scene in which maniac brother smashes a van into a steel beam that inadvertently places friend zone brother in a bad spot. The audience roared into laughter and there is no way that was the intention. Into the Storm introduces a fire tornado at one point. That could have been a hook right there! Into the Storm: Fire Tornadoes. The fire tornado wreaks havoc for a few moments, giving brief life to a lifeless movie. This movie will lend itself nicely to future RiffTrax events.
The movie contains several unintentional comedic moments that could have made this film a fun, campy time if not for the serious tone of the film.
Into the Storm is not as grand scale as the score suggests. Composed by Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World), the booming score feels like it was written for a bigger, better movie. It’s a wasted opportunity because this movie does not deserve a grand scale score. The score is a piece of evidence that suggests this movie takes itself far too seriously. If Quale looped in Benny Hill theme music, this could have been a funny movie from start to finish.
Shifting gears to takeaways from the film. The special effects are serviceable for a smaller budget Summer film. The tornadoes appear dangerous, tearing apart farms, homes, tractors and other massive objects. The boss level tornado is especially wicked, humbling even the most awesome objects such as a tank and airplanes. The sound mix is loud and aggressive, as witnessed in the teaser that has played in the last few months. For those craving a big screen, big sound experience these elements alone may satisfy you but please take this with a grain of salt.
In a few months this film will fall victim to Sharknado inspired live tweets from armchair comedians equipped with Netflix. With a dash of campiness this may have been an entertaining film. In the end this film is a chore to sit through. Thank goodness the runtime is only 90 minutes. On the surface you may think a film could be fun with: The ER doctor from The Hangover, Thorin from The Hobbit, and Lori from The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, Into the Storm fails at every possible angle. If any audience member enjoys this film it’s probably on the, “It’s so bad it’s good” level. This movie is so bad it’s bad.
Into the Storm suffers due to shallow characters with vacant performances. Quale attempts to elevate the stakes by placing friend zone brother and hot girl in a helpless situation but they’re so boring that the audience has zero investment in them.