Only two things separate Into the Storm from your garden variety DTV shlock from mockbuster specialists Asylum: there’s a higher level of digital finesse, and instead of employing F-list wash-ups and randoms, it features C-list faces you may recognise from telly but can’t name.
But this is still straight-up bog-standard disaster-ploitation, mercifully short but so flat and earnest in all aspects of character and storytelling, it makes Twister look like prestige material. At least Jan de Bont’s film – which came out in ‘96, when seeing cows and 18-wheelers air-lifted by strong winds was a novel thing – seasoned its cheese with relatively capable actors (Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Phil Seymour Hoffman) who could sell its inherent silliness.
The best parts of Into the Storm embrace the dumb-fun aspect of the enterprise; its true hero is the state-of-the-art Mad Max-like armoured vehicle that Matt Walsh’s storm-chaser cruises around in. But James Cameron protégé Steven Quale generally directs with indifference. No care is given to making any narrative sense of its “found footage”/doco gimmick, and yes, the genre’s chief annoyance of characters who can’t seem to let go of cameras in life-threatening situations hasn’t got any less aggravating.
Occasionally we’ll get snatches of set-piece awesomeness, particularly when the storm’s Big Bad finally arrives, that remind us that Quale actually made one of the best Final Destination movies. In those few instances we momentarily forget there’s a bunch of lame padding in-between involving moronic thrill-seeking jackasses and two of the Midwest’s most boring teenagers trapped in a hole that’s quickly filling up with water.
‘Into the Storm’ Movie Times