Movie Review: Into the Storm (2014 – Richard Armitage)

Tornado on fire in Into the Storm movie still

A semi-found footage ripoff of Twister with improved special effects, higher damage toll & unengaging characters

High Fujita-scaled tornadoes, storm chasers who’ve been waiting all their lives for such a weather, shelters, victims, cool storm chaser toys, character seeing the inside of a tornado at the end – how is this not called a remake of the 1996 film Twister? Directed by Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) and written by John Swetnam (Step Up All In, Evidence), Into the Storm takes place in the town of Silverton, where it is ravaged an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. Single mother-storm tracker Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) follows Pete (Matt Walsh), a persistent and seemingly heartless storm chaser, to the town to find the biggest tornado around and document it. She later meets a macho single dad-teacher Gary Morris (Richard Armitage), whose looking for his missing son. Together they must find a way to survive while getting what they want.

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The found footage sequences are actually quite minimal but for the first time, I think it probably could’ve been a bit more interesting if the film was a complete mockumentary. Many might say that Twister was more fun and entertaining only because these kind of special effects were impressively back then in the 90s, where no others had done it before, but I would disagree. Not only Into the Storm‘s storyline is nothing new with plenty of cliched moments and a Hollywood ending, the characters are boring and the acting performance is lacklustre. The film fails to develop the characters well enough for the audience to care at all, and therefore, zero emotional engagement.

The visual effects and aftermath settings, too, convincingly displays the power of the horrific natural disaster in a town. Mixed with Dolby Atmos surround sound technology, the audio is very impressively, with the detailed sound of storm and movement and impacts of objects which largely contributes to the convincing ambient. However, I’m not sure if it’s completely realistic. It just didn’t feel right in some sequences. I’m definitely not an expert but logically, shouldn’t the hair be constantly pulled towards a nearby tornadoes? And shouldn’t a strong, merged-up EF5 (or EF6 apparently) tornado break bones even if the characters are hanging to something? I feel quite fortunate to live in a country where there isn’t such a natural disaster but the movie doesn’t make it seem very difficult to survive a massive tornado.

Richard Armitage & Sarah Wayne Callies in Into the Storm movie still meme tornado

Into the Storm does have some respectable moral values (something that Twister doesn’t quite have), conveying to the audience why people shouldn’t stick around to film or take a photo when danger is near, and that life and loved ones should be cherished all the time ’cause even the mighty United States of America are not invulnerable to such natural disasters. However, good special effects and a bit of thrills without a more unique plot do not make a great film, but I guess this is what you get when the director of a gore horror franchise sequel and the writer of a dance flick franchise sequel work together.

What I would’ve named the film: “Twister 2014”

To watch in D-BOX? Although I didn’t watch it in D-BOX, I strongly believe that the motion seats might help make the movie more thrilling to viewers with the seats moving according to the hard wind and objects flying and crashing around, some in found footage views as well. I think it could be like a partial Motion Master theme park ride.

Censorship in Malaysia: It’s PG13 disaster movie… nope, nothing was cut for the media screening at least. No kissing or sex, just people dying in tornado. So it’s all good to our beloved censorship board.

Second opinion: My girlfriend has never heard of Twister and yet she felt that Into the Storm was only so-so and not very impactful to her.

Verdict: As bad as Twister is, it’s probably still more entertaining than this ripoff.

Rating: 1.5 / 5

INTO THE STORM movie poster malaysiaGenre: Disaster thriller
Running Time: 89 minutes
Director: Steven Quale
Screenwriter: John Swetnam
Cast: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Nathan Kress, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Kyle Davis, Jon Reep

Malaysia Release Date: 7 August 2014
Local Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia
Production: New Line Cinema, Village Roadshow Pictures, Broken Road Productions

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