In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot.
With a cast consisting of no real star power, Into The Storm certainly won’t be the breakthrough film for any of them. The biggest names are seen in either supporting roles, or have already had their moment in the spotlight. Richard Armitage can be seen as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy, and Jeremy Sumpter is the former child star who played the lead in 2003’s live action Peter Pan. Performances are over the top yet forgettable, and their characters are painfully unoriginal. The comic relief duo of amateur daredevils/full time rednecks Donk and Reevis (Kyle Davis and Jon Reep, respectively) do hit the mark frequently however, and if everyone else took a leaf out of their book and had a little more fun, the film would have benefited greatly from it. It also means that when a few of these disposables do inevitably meet their maker, it’s not something we care about.
What really matters here though is how the tornadoes look. And thankfully, they’re mightily impressive. Director Steven Quale manages to keep the unpredictability of storm formation is high, while inflicting maximum damage and impact (both on the small town and on the viewer). The final ‘mega twister’ is genuinely frightening to witness take shape, and the destruction is awe-inspiring. Flying trucks, decimated buildings, even tornadoes infused with fire: it’s all here. And although seeing jumbo jets being blown around like balloons is jaw dropping, it’s a tad unbelievable that a town this size would have an airport with this many commercial airliners in it.
The decision to film with handheld and personal cameras vastly improves Into The Storm. It allows for far more creative shots and angles, both from those directly affected and the news helicopters documenting the disaster. With this method, it means the viewer can do exactly what the title suggests.
There’s a cheeky nod to the mother of all tornado movies, Twister, too but it’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment. Speaking of quick, the film clocks in at a lean 89 minutes, and it feels over before it’s really even begun, especially in the climactic finale. Fortunately, the majority of the content that makes up the hour and a half is hard to look away from, and it leaves an impression while not overstaying its welcome.
It’s all about expectation here; expecting a deep drama where love and loss dominate will obviously disappoint. But if it’s a relentless actioner with soulless characters you’re after, then step right Into The Storm.