Into the StormCultureCinemaMovie reviews
The found footage subgenre is booming since the release of The Blair Witch Project in 1999, and now it seems like every man and his dog is digging up shaky, out-of-focus, handycam footage of some event or other. Most naturally suited to horror films, writers and directors have begun to expand their focus, with 2008’s Cloverfield and 2011’s Chronicle giving audiences a new take on the creature feature and sci-fi flick respectively.
Next up is Into the Storm, which vaguely refocuses found footage on the classic disaster movie genre, but in doing so misses the point completely, making the film a hodgepodge of half-cocked ideas.
The plot is nothing revolutionary: a group of storm chasers, desperate for the perfect tornado footage, cross paths with a group of civilians, a seemingly disinterested father and his two sons. Together they must survive high winds and floating debris while trying to save as many of the residents of their small town as they can. Turns from The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage, The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies and the generally funny Matt Walsh are passable but it’s unsurprising that their performances are uninspired when the dialogue is so completely predictable. It’s difficult to determine whether John Swetnam had to write any of the dialogue himself, but for the most part at least the script seems to consist solely of the least believable lines from every other action film from the last 20 years.
It’s the film’s lacklustre use of its key premise that is its final undoing however, with the least consistent use of found footage in a feature ever. Where as the classics of the genre use a limited number of cameras, usually one or two, to promote a strong sense of place and a layer of realism, Into the Storm’s camcorders must number in the dozens, to the point where the usual restrictions no longer exist. At times, the film seems to completely forget its premise altogether, switching for no comprehensible reason to birds-eye shots of the destruction as it happens.
Into the Storm is a thrill ride, and, by and large, it succeeds in this respect, but the film commits far too many sins to recommend it, even as an exponent of the traditionally shallow disaster film. Tolerable effects and reasonable production values aren’t close to enough to save this by the numbers disaster flick.
Joe Manners Lewis
Into the Storm is released nationwide on 22nd August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Into the Storm here: