Weather can be a dangerous thing, particularly if you live in Oklahoma where the tornadoes terrify high school students and wannabe YouTube stars alike. As long as there is a storm chasing documentary film crew around, they’ll all be safe, won’t they?
If you think this plot sounds familiar, there is definitely a nod towards Twister, a similar disaster movie released in 1996. Yes we have storm chasers again, but the academic element is down to a single character, meteorologist Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies), who also conveniently is a struggling single mum and love-interest to High School Vice Principal and single dad Gary Morris (Richard Armitage). Trying to crowbar in as much human interest in as possible before the disaster takes hold, in addition we have teenage angst from brothers Donnie and Trey Morris, whose mother has died and father doesn’t understand them as he’s too busy being Vice Principal, and romantic possibility for Donnie from the High School sweetheart Kaitlyn. And the film crew. And a whole High School of graduating students. Unfortunately there are too many characters to really care very much about any of them by the time the storm hits. The tornadoes arrive and we’re just very glad to see them.
What tries to set this film about from Twister is the supposed documentary style footage that takes up some of the plot, including some pretty bad pieces to camera, which are sadly about as natural as Made in Chelsea. Apart from the film crew, there is a mad-cap pair trying to record dangerous deeds for the internet and the Morris brothers, Trey covering the High School Graduation ceremony for a incredibly likely time capsule project and Donnie helping out a Kaitlyn who needs to do an equally likely report in a disused paper mill that is full of chemicals for a journalism scholarship (seriously?). It may well be that the creators of this movie were trying to get a feeling of a very windy version of The Blair Witch Project, but they dip in and out of styles so much it just doesn’t work. The film is neither mockumentary or conventional feature film and trying to combine the two is clunky at best.
I really sound like I don’t like this movie much, but it’s actually worth a viewing for the effects and suspense in the latter half of the story alone. You just need to hang on in there through all the character stuff before the tornadoes. The drama played out in the scenes where the twisters are approaching or passing over is actually very good. I really enjoyed the scenes of super storm wreaking havoc over town and countryside against some truly jump out of your seats moments. Once you cut through all the cramming in the potential victims and pretending that everyone is making documentaries nonsense, the pacing and tension in the meat of the disaster section is interesting. It’s certainly worth a look. Just don’t forget your wellies. You just never know when the storms are going to hit…..
Into The Storm is in cinemas now.