|Review by Elizabeth Robbins
Being from Boston and having had a tornado touch down just north of the city, I find a disaster film about climate change very timely. Into the Storm proposes to marry a typical action disaster film with a commentary on the frequency of “the storm of the century” becoming a yearly occurrence.
Into the Storm is a fictional film presenting itself as a found footage documentary by combining the footage of a professional storm-chaser documentary; a high school, time capsule project; and footage shot on the townspeople’s smartphones, go-pro’s, and digital cameras.
Donnie (Max Deacon) is a high school senior in charge of putting together the graduating class’s time capsule video project.
He and his brother, Trey (Nathan Kress), constantly gripping camera in hand, film every mundane moment including the typical teenager/parent arguments with their father, Gary (Richard Armatage), who happens to be the assistant high school principal.
Donnie sneaks off to help his high school crush film her internship application. Trey and Dad head to the graduation ceremony, where Trey sets up multiple cameras to film the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the storm chasing documentary team, headed up by Matt Walsh and Sarah Wayne Callies, are racing toward the town in hopes of catching a tornado. With all cameras in place, a stream of record breaking tornadoes ensue.
While the idea of showing the story through multiple cameras is an interesting concept, the execution falls flat. The meaningful dramatic scenes “caught” on camera seemed forced and in some cases laughable. The filmmakers set up the canon that all the footage is being filmed by someone on the scene, and then they break the canon when it comes time for some high-end effects shots. There are shots of the tornadoes that no character would have been able to shoot from that angle or simply weren’t present at the time. Terrible dialogue is passed off as just being real people speaking. By trying to make the film feel ultra realistic, it makes it feel manufactured.
Into the Storm could have been a thought provoking film about the impact of climate change and the devastation it is wrecking on our communities, or it could have been a hair raising, action film. Instead it is just a C-grade disaster film that tries to get by on clever packaging and fails completely.