Into the Storm – Film Review

Perilous popcorn thrills - does what it says on the tin

It’s nearly 20 years since storm chasing disaster flick Twister hit cinemas but finally, for raw eye of the storm action, it’s been bettered by studio Warner Bros who also produced George Clooney vehicle The Perfect Storm. Storms… Hollywood loves ’em. In cheesy disaster movie fashion we get to know the lives of those about to be tossed into harm’s way – in readiness for the fun guessing game of who will make it to the end of the 90 minutes without being hoovered up by a tornado or flattened by a car.

The pre-storm build up follows two high school brothers, Donny and Trey, filming their school’s graduation ceremony and dealing with their grumpy vice-principal Dad (Richard Armitage, The Hobbit). And we meet a gang of redneck storm chasing bozos intent on hitting the holy grail of a million hits on YouTube by getting as close as they can to nature’s wrath. But the story revolves around the uneasy alliance of a research scientist (Sarah Wayne Callies, The Walking Dead) and TV director (Matt Walsh, Veep) on the hunt for a super storm – one on a quest for data, the other desperate for ratings whatever the cost. Cruising towards the mayhem in their armoured camera tank Titus, the crew target the small Midwest town of Silverton as hail stones the size of golf balls start to fall and the tension ramps.

The film was hyped at Comic-Con in San Diego last month where fans were given a chance to experience a flavour of Into the Storm‘s thrills by donning virtual reality headsets for the Oculus Rift experience (watch video below). It cleverly mimics one of the film’s stand out scenes when the gang of survivors hide out in a storm drain. We’ve been here before but it’s all done with gusto.

The use of practical effects, not just CGI and green screen trickery, recalls old school disaster movies from the 70s like Earthquake when the boys’ school is ripped to shreds by a rampant tornado. Brilliantly realised with seamless visual trickery orchestrated by director Steven Quayle (assistant director on Avatar) it tears up the streets tossing cars and shredding buildings like confetti. For the brutal finale it’s like a National Geographic documentary on steroids when several super cells collide to create the mother of all storms. Delivering perilous popcorn thrills the film lives up to the title.

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