Global warming disaster films used to be a thing. The Day After Tomorrow is the most famous example, and it appeared that a number of similar films would be released. Well we finally have it with Into the Storm which deals with the rapidly increasing amount of extreme weather. In particular it looks at a town that is ravaged by an unprecedented amount of tornadoes.
Presented in a found footage format through the eyes of a group of storm chasers, yeah… that’s a risk. When the found footage thing is done well then it can result in brilliant paranoia and tension. But in a film like this it feels like a last minute effort to try and separate this film from others of a similar style. The shaky camera work blocks your view of some admirable effects and makes an already weak story seem completely last minute.
Let’s talk about the plot then. It feels like it’s been put together in five minutes. The entire story is played out and growing beyond weak long before the end of the film. The word’s ‘Hold on’ are repeated so many times any rational person would begin to assume them as a natural action rather than having to constantly remind the viewer of the danger they are in. As well as this there’s the point that in these life threatening situations the main character has this unnatural urge to hold onto a camera. This is why I dislike footage films, at one point it seemed like a unique and interesting way to tell stories. But now it leaves nothing to the imagination in terms of cinematography or editing.
It presents itself as a footage thriller but ends up becoming a complete parody of every disaster film ever made. The best disaster films give you memorable characters as well as scenarios, we all remember Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman from Independence Day. But in this, I’ve already forgotten everything about the characters, so I can’t really talk about them.
Now I shall address the elephant in the room, or rather in the sky. Many people will automatically compare this to Twister, with good reason. This is supposed to be a variant of the same idea. But to be honest, it fails to go one up from the more memorable storm film. Even if Twister is only remembered for its rather unrealistic guide on how to survive a tornado when you only have a shed, a pipe and a surprisingly strong belt. It also really needs a bigger budget. The fact that it has quite a small budget really makes you question whether or not the hand held camera element was really planned from the start. When you think about it the concept is a good way to save money…
The action is up to quite a good standard though. Unlike the weather conditions of the film you’ll be left breathless by most of them. The effects are also quite impressive. But as I said before, it’s a real disappointment because you struggle to see half of them through shaky footage. Though it does give you a first-hand view of the action, I would rather see some more amazing effects used to portray massive destruction. That is why they needed a bigger budget though, to go one step further than what the final result became.
It maintains a certain level of fun and action. But given that it was advertised as a disaster thriller and attempts to be one for the best part of the film, it ultimately leads to a bit of a let-down. The forecast looks quite dull indeed.