|'Delivers only the occasional gust of excitement when it should be aiming for hurricane force'.|
It's difficult to see how a film like Into The Storm managed to get a general release in cinemas, considering so much of what it has to offer feels remarkably close to made-for-TV movie levels of execution. It could even be suggested that it resembles Sharknado but without the sharks. Having never seen Sharknado, I wouldn't feel justified in making such a cutting comparison myself; but, in all honesty, I can't imagine it's far off the mark.
Feeling like something of a spiritual successor to 1996's Twister (which also begs the question if there was anyone out there actually hankering for a new version of that film), the most impressive thing about Into The Storm is arguably its effects. There are some satisfying destructive scenes to be found towards the end of the film when the titular weather occurrence is at its strongest, and an earlier sequence involving the combination of a tornado, a petrol leak and fire is exactly the kind of thing many will have come looking for here. However, most of these moments were disappointingly used during the film's main trailer, leaving precious little extra for the film to offer, especially with several of the other effects-heavy scenes feeling decidedly cheap.
Away from the CGI destruction, Into The Storm consistently fails to deliver. Steven Quale's direction is erratic, never having the confidence to settle on a particular style or feel. The director opts in the end for a disjointed combination of traditionally shot and handheld footage, neither of which manages a satisfying level of authenticity nor ever sits comfortably with the other. Quale's narrative structure is equally all over the place, generally following two separate groups of characters who eventually cross paths whilst occasionally returning to a scenario where students at the local high school are making films to be placed in a time capsule; this element is so thinly drawn however that it feels more and more awkward each time it is returned to.
Perhaps most damaging to Into The Storm's credibility as an entry into the disaster genre is its consistent lack of ambition. The action never ventures out of the relatively small and remote town of Silverton, Oklahoma, making much of what is presented feel decidedly lacking in urgency, especially when compared to the destructive scale of other weather-based offerings of recent memory such as 2012. Considering extreme weather and climate change are still a relatively hot topic, almost nothing is made of the potential that could be tapped from this area either.
Whilst Quale never gives the impression he was ever aiming for his film to be hailed as a classic, Into The Storm nonetheless feels like a wasted opportunity to make something a lot more entertaining than what it offers, delivering only the occasional gust of excitement when it should be aiming for hurricane force.