The Film Fatales head Into the Storm, with little protection from the elements.
Into the Storm. 2014. Rated PG-13. 89 minutes. Starring Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Max Deacon, Matt Walsh, Nathan Kress. Directed by Stephen Quayle.
Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton. [IMDb]
Nicole: It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years since Hollywood has produced a large-scale tornado disaster film. Twister still remains very present in everyone’s minds, and for that reason Into the Storm has a lot to live up to. Most audience members will probably come out on one side or the other in the argument over which film is better. For many, it’s going to rest on the special effects (let’s not forget the advancements that have occurred over the time span), but others will argue over which story was more compelling.
elizabeth: I am one of those crazy people who wants to go out with storm chasers. There is something about Mother Nature and her fury that mesmerizes me. But I only want to go out when there are no injuries or property damage. I am a storm chaser with a heart. I can’t believe that it has been almost 20 years since Twister came out. Makes me think that it might be better to leave things alone. But Hollywood can’t do that.
Nicole: As for the story, like most disaster epics, the story comes rather secondary to the special effects. These types of films usually offer a very simple setup so the audience can instead be thrilled rather than weighed down by a complicated plot. In this case, the story revolves around three sets of people: a storm chasing team, which is led by Pete (Matt Walsh, from pretty much everything you’ve ever seen) and Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies, The Walking Dead); the Fuller family, father and Vice Principal Gary (Richard Armitage, The Hobbit Trilogy, North and South), Donnie (Max Deacon, Summer in February), and Trey (Nathan Kress); and two amateur, thrill-seeking storm chasers who are only interested in scoring YouTube hits. (Of the latter, I was sincerely hoping the storm system would swallow them up first. Spoiler: It, unfortunately, did not.)
elzabeth: You are being too kind about the setup, but correct that it was very simple and might I add…just awful. The actors seemed to have lost their ability to act (maybe their years of crafting their acting skills were sucked up into the vortex) and I quite honestly would have liked them all to see the eye of the storm at about 50,000 feet above sea level. When you don’t care about the characters in a movie, you know that is a near fatal flaw to the movie—with or without winds clocking in at over 100 MPH.
Nicole: Ouch. I think the acting, in this case, hinges on the style of film making. The film is structured around the premise that the main characters are also filming the events of the day, when a never-before-seen storm system delivers its deluge on the town of Silverton, Anywhere USA. This quasi-found footage concept kind of holds the film back in a few ways. First, it limits the perspective of the characters and the storm. (Quayle does, however, include a “God” camera, for those scenes that require large shots to show the magnitude of the various types of tornadoes the protagonists encountered.) Second, it limits the performances. The “home movie” quality of the film means that the actors are often seen reacting to the storm and not given the time to really sink their teeth into their performances. Let me say this to vouchsafe their credibility: I’ve seen many of these actors in other roles, so I know their skills are stellar. (Unlike, say, Bill Paxton in Twister…ooooh, I went there.)
elizabeth: I agree 100% about the “home movie” quality and storyline. If people react to the storm to end all storms without hardly an ounce of fear (maybe they missed their coffee that morning), then nothing can save this movie. And that makes me a little sad because the scene at the airport scared the hell out of me every time I saw it during the previews.
Nicole: As for the chill factor – let’s just say, I spent 90% of the film with every muscle in my body tensed to capacity. I was literally exhausted afterward. The special effects are astounding. And, many of them are practical – not digital – which is pretty impressive since a lot of directors have been taking the shortcut by going solely green screen. So, if you’re looking for a visually stunning, tension-filled disaster movie…you’ll likely enjoy this movie. Just don’t go alone, because all the shouting and jumping you’ll be doing will look just a bit deranged.
elizabeth: Yes, there are scenes that will make you go “Whoa” but most of the time I followed that with, “I can’t wait to see them all die.”
The Film Fatales split decision for Into the Storm...