Into The Storm is a disaster film and all that entails. There, I've said it. A popcorn chomping, soft-drink guzzling action piece designed to be seen on the big screen.
The film is brought to you by Steven Quale, the director and some of his team from Final Destination 5 (2011), arguably the weakest film in that franchise. However, by, golly-gosh, Final Destination teams tend to know about special effects via grizzly deaths and the special effects here are top-notch. Quale is also well known for some outstanding second unit work on James Cameron blockbuster films, Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2007), so he knows how to make a big film.
Richard Armitage is currently receiving rave reviews for his West End performance in The Crucible so it is jarring to see him in a popcorn film. Armitage does a solid turn as the concerned Dad, but is a fairly ineffective vice-principal. He is out-acted by Nathan Kress, playing youngest son, Trey. Kress is whip-smart funny, thoughtful and engaging. Older brother, Donnie, played by Max Deacon, is a by-the-numbers shy teenager in danger, and trapped with his high-school crush, Kaitlyn played by Alycia Debnam Carey. Neither Deacon or Debnam Carey get a chance to flesh out their characters, though it is a nice touch that she is filming a documentary on pollution, valuing her brain over the teenage aesthetics such as midriff we've become accustomed to.
The lead female, Allison, is played by Sarah Wayne Callies and it might be the first time I've enjoyed Wayne Callies' acting. Allison holds various degrees, is the brains of the tornado chasing operation and doesn't take stick when her boss is being a jerk. This is the kind of woman that needs stronger representation on film. At the end of the film, the two leads are still single, independent adults that have admiration for one another for surviving the tornado to end all tornados, rather than the beginnings of a romantic relationship
You're going to get the film you want when you sit down to it, but I wouldn't expect it to rate over time next to disaster flicks like Twister (1996). Twister is smarter and makes better use of its cast than Into The Storm does. If you're looking for buildings being raised from the ground and a pretty fire-tornado, then grab your popcorn, you’ll walk away very happy indeed. IF anything, watch this for the joy of sound. Score and music is used effectively to create the weather phenomenon on display here. The Atmos sound is brilliant, I'll expect it on all my disaster and blockbuster flicks going forward.
Into The Storm is out now in cinemas.