Into The Storm is the film I was expecting to outdo Twister in the special effects stakes, especially since it’s been 18 years since Speed’s Jan De Bont threw a cow in our face, much to Helen Hunt’s surprise. It didn’t, but it’s still worth a watch on the big screen.
The basic plot is that it’s graduation day at Silverton High School, in Averagetown, USA. Brothers Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress) are putting together a time capsule video which will be unveiled in 25 years, so they’d best make it a good one. This means that, after a brief opener where we see four random high school students encounter a twister during the night (since a film’s got to grab you from the start), it then gives way to 25 minutes of lengthy scene-setting, introducing all the characters, including expert storm chaser Pete (Matt Walsh), whose team includes the stunning Sarah Wayne Callies (below), as Allison, and I remember her particularly from Prison Break as Dr. Sara Tancredi, who was decapitated at the end of season 3, but managed to get it all together again for season 4.
IMDB has since made me learn that she also played the voice of Debra Morgan in “Dexter: The Game”. (a) I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of the game before now, and (b) I wonder why they didn’t get Jennifer Carpenter? This is like if they made “Prison Break: The Game” and decided to hire Jennifer Carpenter as Dr. Sara Tancredi. It’s madness! At least Michael C. Hall turned up to vocalise the lead, but the rest of the cast for that is hit and miss.
Anyhoo, while most people ride out the storm in the school – including the Vice Principal and father to the two brothers, Gary (Richard Armitage), Donnie’s become separated from the rest to play footsie with Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey), who he’s fancied for ages and has one last chance to ask her out. They will encounter their own problems later, especially when some falling masonry forces Kaitlyn to reveal a massive gash.
There’s also Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), a couple of stoners who try storm chasing on the cheap in a jalopy with “Twista Hunterz” enscribed on the back, or rather daubed in paint.
Into The Storm has some great SFX, but every actor is wooden (apart from the delectable Ms Callies), there’s a lack of one-liners, as well as any fun elements like Twister‘s driving through a house that rolled into the protagonists’ path by chance. However, like Twister, there’s a kind-of baddie who’s going to meet their demise, but here’s it’s done in a far more satisfying way.
It also features occasional “will they, won’t they survive?” moments, which are interesting first time round but won’t stand up on repeated viewing. That said, if they didn’t pad out the SFX scenes with some tediousness then the film would last about 40 minutes.
And my favourite death was one involving a twister which catches fire. When the poor unfortunate got caught up in that – and you can see this coming a mile off – I laughed like a drain in the sparsely-filled auditorium. In fact, I started to feel a bit like Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, watching Problem Child, except without the cigar. And tattoos. And mole. And murderous intentions.
For this film, I did something I can’t remember ever doing before – sitting close to the screen on purpose. However, this was so that the storm scenes would cover almost my entire field of vision for maximum impact, and they certainly did that. For the purists, I was sat five rows from the front. For the purists who go to the Odeon in the Trafford Centre, the film was in screen 15 and I was sat in E10. The auditorium is split into five rows of seating at the front, and loads more further back. Where I was sat, was too close for 99% of all films released, but for one like this, it was a must.
Whichever cinema you see this in, DO see it at the cinema, and sit quite close to the screen. When things kick off, it’s a real blast.
As an aside, as the credits began (I stay for these, but there’s nothing additional at the end of them), the low house lights came on as usual, but then they started to put the big ones on (which I’ve had to complain about in the past because the bright lights obliterate the screen so you can’t read anything – completely ruining the tension at the end of Gravity, last year), but they must’ve realised there was at least one audience member still there as they quickly went off again!* Hurrah!
(*unless someone recognised me and thought, “No, we don’t want him writing in again” 😉 )
Running time: 89 minutes
Released: August 20th 2014
Director: Steven Quale
Producer: Todd Garner
Screenplay: John Swetnam
Music: Brian Tyler
Gary: Richard Armitage
Allison: Sarah Wayne Callies
Pete: Matt Walsh
Donnie: Max Deacon
Trey: Nathan Kress
Kaitlyn: Alycia Debnam Carey
Daryl: Arlen Escarpeta
Jacob: Jeremy Sumpter
Lucas: Lee Whittaker
Donk: Kyle Davis
Reevis: Jon Reep
Principal Thomas Walker: Scott Lawrence
Chester: David Drumm
Todd White: Brandon Ruiter
Mrs. Blasky: Kron Moore
Cheerleader: London Elise Moore
Marcia: Stephanie Koenig
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.