Into the Storm (2 stars)

Into the Storm

Richard Armitage stars in an underwhelming found footage disaster movie from director Steven Quale

Steven Quale’s Into the Storm may blow you away with the quality of some of its special effects but it'll leave you underwhelmed and exasperated in most other respects. Set in or around Silverton, Oklahoma it sees a powerful storm hit the town. By opting to embrace genre convention rather than subvert it, the film never engages on an emotional level, even feeling insensitive when taking into account the real-life devastation and suffering such natural disasters inflict.

Quale’s decision to film large parts of the action using a found footage, first person style is another frustration given how over-worked that subgenre is. Far from adding the desired realism, it has a nauseating effect and prevents the viewer from seeing a lot of what is going on. It's no coincidence that the film is at its technical best when doing away with that in favour of wider, more impactful shots, such as the sight of 747s being swept along in the path of the tornado, or a fiery twister.

In such moments, Quale does manage to achieve a quality of effect that is comparable to the best, not least the films of James Cameron, with whom the director learnt his craft (on both Titanic and Avatar), as well as the likes of Twister and The Day After Tomorrow.

Yet by failing to pay as much attention to the dramatic flow of the story or its characters, Quale's film eventually becomes hopelessly clichéd. The film’s cast are a stereotypical bunch that include a dad (The Hobbit's Richard Armitage) and his two estranged sons, one of whom needs rescuing; a storm chasing crew led by a money obsessed documentarian (Matt Walsh), which includes a team member desperate to get back to her daughter (Sarah Wayne Callies); and a couple of Jackass-style thrill-seekers striving for YouTube notoriety. You can guess what happens to all of them but it’s difficult to care.

General release from Fri 22 Aug.

Into the Storm - Official Teaser Trailer [HD]

Into the Storm

  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 1h 29min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Steven Quale
  • Written by: John Swetnam
  • Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Richard Armitage, Jeremy Sumpter
  • UK release: 22 August 2014

Gary (Armitage) is an Oklahoma dad with two estranged sons, one of whom needs rescuing when tornadoes come to town … but it's difficult to care about the stereotypical characters in this clichéd disaster drama, and the frustrating decision to shoot it found-footage style makes it nauseating to watch and hard to follow.