Into the Storm
Film Review by Kam Williams
Tornado Wreaks Havoc on Tiny Oklahoma Town in Thrill-a-Minute Disaster Flick
The skies are deceptively serene over Silverton, Oklahoma, offering no reminder of the fact that four people recently perished in a deadly tornado that touched down in a neighboring city. Consequently, we find the townfolk blissfully unaware of the rough weather bearing down on the area threatening to ruin high school graduation day.
Vice Principal Gary Morris (Richard Armitage), who is in charge of the commencement festivities, has assigned his sons, Trey (Nathan Kress), a sophomore, and Donnie (Max Deacon), a junior, the thankless task of filming the ceremony in order to preserve it for posterity in a buried time capsule. His younger boy complies with the request, but the elder is immediately distracted from the task at hand by an opportunity to assist acute classmate (Alycia Debnam Carey) salvage her own video project.
Meanwhile, a team of storm chasers is rushing towards Silverton at the direction of its meteorologist, Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies), since her computer data has predicted that the next funnel cloud is likely to form somewhere in that vicinity. But because she’s a single-mom with a 5 year-old (Keala Wayne Winterhalt) back home, she’s a lot less enthusiastic about her job than their leader, Pete Moore (Matt Walsh).
Like a latter-day Captain Ahab, Moore is maniacal in his quest to capture the mother of all cyclones on camera. So, he exhorts Allison and the rest of the crew to risk life and limb in search of that elusive dream shot from inside the eye of a storm.
At least they have a couple of vehicles specially outfitted for such an occasion, including a glass turreted tank with grappling claws that can withstand winds of up to 170 mph. That’s more than can be said about local yokels Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (John Reep), fate-tempting daredevils who have decided to try to capture footage by riding around in a pickup truck emblazoned on the back with a hand-painted sign that reads “TWISTA HUNTERZ.”
Once the colorful cast of soon-to-be imperiled archetypes has been introduced, Allison’s dire forecast proves uncannily accurate as ominous clouds form overhead. That’s when the fun starts in Into the Storm, a Seventies-style disaster flick reminiscent of such unnerving classics as Airport (1970), The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974).
This update of the genre benefits immeasurably from state-of-the-art CGI, a worthwhile investment for the eye-popping special f/x alone. A campy and cheesy yet visually-captivating roller coaster ride that makes Sharknado look like Sharknado 2!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexual references, and scenes of intense peril and destruction
Running time: 89 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers