With Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy proving that our Earth in the throws of something environmentally dire, one would think a disaster picture like Into the Storm would tackle this sensitive subject with more grace. Not so: it's filled with enough silly pseudo-science and poor acting to fill the eye of a tornado and is one of the worst films of the year.
For a film that survives on high intensity and fierce winds, the 89-minute Storm crawls along, due to many sequences that carry on far longer than Director Steven Quale should have allowed. He and Writer John Swetnam fill too many early scenes with exposition to establish this world of increasing natural calamities, without grounding the rest of the film in logical action sequences. Tornadoes of these magnitudes - especially those of an F5 - would decimate anyone who ventured too close, yet we're constantly barraged by our heroes seeming to escape each threats, until the third act when they're able to somehow survive winds of over 300 mph by 'hanging on.' Not likely.
The acting here is a mish-mash of pubescent Paranormal Activity chest thumping, poorly-portrayed Blair Witch goodbyes, and an over-the-top performance from Armitage. What feels like an ABC After-School disaster film is only added to by Armitage's constant scowling at the camera, perhaps wondering why a person of his considerable talents signed on for such a questionable affair. Callies is suitable as the meteorologist banned to the back of the bus, her performance sequestered in a wall of rain but able to keep her humanity when the clouds finally part. Everyone else here is either thinly-drawn or non-existent, their presence only offering a vehicle to the next disastrous moment that they must either endure or become swept up in its ferocity. When that moment comes, some characters magically survive, such as two redneck brothers whose antics make you want to slap them.
Into the Storm is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references and has a runtime of 89 minutes.
Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.