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Movie Review: 'Into the Storm'

Movie Review: 'Into the Storm'

Disaster films are inherently crowd-pleasing if the formula includes likable characters, an acceptable script and fun-to-watch special effects.

Published August 7, 2014



Disaster films are inherently crowd-pleasing if the formula includes likable characters, an acceptable script and fun-to-watch special effects. Unfortunately, Into the Storm failed on two out of three.  The tornado fiasco managed to nail the CGI, but fancy computerized twisters could not redeem the flick's consistent dimwittedness. Half-baked characters include a work-obsessed single mom, a work-obsessed single dad, stereotypical hillbillies, testy storm chasers and a flock of teenagers. The general plot: everyone is scrambling around the most epic and implausible cyclones of all time — think Final Destination meets Twister, but not nearly as entertaining.

Directed by Steven Quale, the first twenty minutes is teen babble with one character filming his high school graduation.  The first-person cam bounces to each character, attempting to give us an "intimate" look at twitsers. Yep, another "found footage" film in the style of Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield . This overused style only works if there is an extreme sense of urgency and drama, which Into the Storm lacked.  Furthermore, how is it possible to maintain a handheld cam while enduring a biblical tornado?  The shaky cameras were more annoying than suspenseful and just one of the many ridiculous fumbles in the film's 89 minutes.

Hopefully the actors, who are clearly working hard with the flat script, will get more chances to prove themselves. Sarah Wayne Callies , who famously played Lori in The Walking Dead , has a strong on-screen presence even with atrocious dialogue that frequently made the audience burst into laugher. Arlen Escarpeta , who plays Bobby Brown in Lifetime's Whitney Houston biopic, is no novice to the big screen. The Belizean actor has appeared in several horror films, so hopefully Into the Storm in one of his last stops in B-movie land.

When you are sitting in a movie like Into the Storm and the two people next to you are huffing, puffing and shaking their head at the flick's stupidity, you can't help but think, "How do movies like this even get the green light to be made?"  There are so many filmmakers with original, fun — and not just indie-style — ideas from disaster to horror.  With appropriate backing, fresh ideas would undoubtedly perform better at the box office rather than badly rehashing the old, as Into the Storm does.  The film is an indication of why this year has been one of the worst summers for the box office.

Into the Storm is in theaters tomorrow.

Written by Clay Cane

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