Friday, August 8, 2014

Into the Storm Movie Review

Hang on to... nothing. I'm sure we'll be OK.

We Need a Tornado

About 20 minutes into Steven Quale's anemic Into the Storm, a TV meteorologist warns, 'If you're in the path of this storm, you could be in for a long day.' Amen, sister! 89 minutes literally flies crawls by in this no-name, predictable disaster of a film. If you're expecting/hoping for Twister, think again: The only thing these two movies have in common is their distributor (Warner Bros. Pictures.)

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: 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. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, "Into the Storm" throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.

What’s Best: It's been almost 20 years (1996) since Warner Bros. Pictures gave us Twister, the gold standard of tornado movies (with all due respect to The Wizard of Oz.) Into the Storm pales in comparison, coughing up a few laughs (kudos to Nathan Kress as a wise-cracking H.S. sophomore; and a pair of YouTube wannabes, who race around in an old pickup truck named Twista Hunter 2.) Other than that? Nada. Even the CGI twisters look unimpressive, rustling up cars, planes and (sadly) precious few people - dumb enough to get close to them.

That said, I could probably sit through 10 minutes of the aforementioned wannabes, especially "amateur daredevil" Donk (Kyle Davis) and his 302 YouTube hits. His "flaming pool of death" stunt is probably the most impressive special effect of the movie (which doesn't say much for the rest of the film.)

What’s Not: Where do I begin? "Found footage" films are often terrible as a rule, and Into the Storm is no exception. Normally funny Matt Walsh (Pete) comments early on, 'The goal of a documentary is to actually document something,' yet Into the Storm takes more than half an hour to "get off the ground." Running jokes like, 'Hey guys, do you think we'll see a tornado today?' become increasingly irksome, as Quale bombards/bores us with useless back story, performed by a cast of nobodies. Dude, you have 90 minutes... show some tornadoes already!

As for the actors, they're almost all bad... especially Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) who should stick to chasing the undead, instead of twisters. She delivers lines like, 'My storm's expanding,' with zero enthusiasm, while berating her boss (Pete) for pointing out the fact that she can't find a tornado to save her life. Also deserving of a coveted spot on the cutting room floor... Max Deacon as Donnie, the brooding, lovesick nerd, who strays and gets into trouble (can you say Day After Tomorrow?) Donnie's back-story with school hottie Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey) is 100% unnecessary, not to mention unbelievable. I don't care how many school projects he helps her with... guys like Donnie don't get girls like Kaitlyn (yet alone Titanic-like dedications, when faced with certain death.)

Best Line: Amidst the endless parade of drab one-liners, such as, 'Dad, it's getting worse out there,' and 10 different ways of saying "the biggest tornado ever,' stands Donnie's 'I spent all week filming time capsules for the future; and now I don't have one (a future.') Ugh. "Thank you" John Swetnam. Best of luck on your next screenplay: You're gonna need it.

Overall: This movie deserves an F, but I have to admit... I was mildly entertained (for all the wrong reasons.) Does it make any sense to stand in the middle of the street, as four tornadoes come cascading towards you? Nope. Or have the town's only shelter in a school without a basement? Of course not. The special effects stink. The acting is atrocious; and I wouldn't recommend wasting nine minutes (yet alone 89) watching it. Is it the worst movie of the year? Not quite, but close enough to justify staying far, far away from. P.S. Twister was/still is an awesome movie: See it again.