Review: INTO THE STORM (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Review: INTO THE STORM (2014)

While the sound and visual effects are incredible, INTO THE STORM is pretty much a generic disaster movie.

When comes to a disaster movie involving tornadoes, the first thing that quickly springs to my mind is none others than the Jan de Bont-directed TWISTER back in 1996. There were many tornado-related movies, including the recent ones like SHARKNADO and SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE, but none of them could hold a candle against TWISTER. Then along came INTO THE STORM, which looks like a second-rate version of TWISTER when I first saw the trailer. I went in with low expectation when I finally get to watch the movie and just as I expected, INTO THE STORM does have its few thrilling moments but other than that, it's pretty standard stuff.


When an onslaught of tornadoes hit the peaceful small town of Silverton, a small group of professional storm chasers, led by team leader Pete (Matt Walsh) and tornado data analyst Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies, best known in TV's Prison Break and The Walking Dead) are determined to capture the live footage at all cost. Meanwhile, Gary (Richard Armitage), single father and  vice principal of a local high school, finds himself in dire situation as he tries to locate his missing son, Donnie (Max Deacon) who trapped somewhere with his beautiful high school crush, Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey). Then there's a pair of thrill-seeking amateurs, Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), who tries to make it big as YouTube sensations.
Technically speaking, INTO THE STORM is a cinematic triumph. Director Steven Quale, who made his feature debut in FINAL DESTINATION 5, make good use of its US$50 million budget and successfully creates a series of amazing tornado effects that looks as expensive as US$100 million-kind of big budget blockbuster. But best of all is the superb sound effects of the roaring tornadoes that make you feel as if you are in the middle of the disaster. No doubt this is the kind of movie where you should experience in the cinemas with great surround sound system, preferably the one that equipped with Dolby Atmos.

Most of the actors here, including Richard Armitage, Matt Walsh and Sarah Wayne Callies, are adequate at best.

The spectacular "fire tornado" sequence (which is featured prominently in the movie trailer) and the final scene where Pete is trapped inside his military tank-like vehicle called "Titus" inside the funnel of a tornado.

On paper, John Swetnam's "found-footage tornado thriller" script sounds ambitious enough. However, the so-called found footage format that incorporated inside the movie feels awkward most of the time. Even though there are supposedly scenes involving characters using various recording devices like DSLR, camcorder and GoPro camera, it's quite hard to tell the difference because frankly, almost all the shots throughout the movie looks as if they are filmed in the same formats and resolutions. The story is mediocre and despite clocking at a compact 89 minutes, some of the melodramatic moments really stalls the momentum of the movie, particularly the one involves Donnie and Kaitlyn.

Despite all the efforts that Steven Quale has done for the sound and visual effects, he seems to forget to add his imaginative flair during the tornado sequences. Even there are few moments where he does stretch his imagination, most of the tornado sequences are either restrained or doesn't sustain long enough to give you maximum cinematic enjoyment.


Although the movie doesn't reach the same creative or even intense height that TWISTER done so successfully before, INTO THE STORM remains a fairly enjoyable, if forgettable disaster picture.

* This review is written courtesy from Warner Bros Malaysia press screening *

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