Seeing is believing: Heading Into the Storm

(image via Impawards)
(image via Impawards)


In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, “Into the Storm” throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.  (synopsis via Coming Soon)

When it first came out in 1996, Twister, starring two of my favourite actors ever Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Bill Paxton (Big Love), had me enthralled from almost the word go.

Anchored by authentic, vigorous characters, sterling performances and a meaningful, affecting narrative, it was proof positive that you could have a disaster movie on steroids and not relinquish one iota of intelligent, compelling storytelling.

It is, and so remains, one of the best movies I have ever seen of its genre.

Quite whether Into the Storm will join it is another matter entirely.

Styled as a found footage movie, much like Chronicle or Cloverfield, it also seems to make use of all kinds of angles that would only work if you have strapped a camcorder to a cow and set it adrift into the very centre of a tornado.

In other words, as Filmonic points out, they took a little creative license with the concept:

“Bottom line, Into the Storm is a found-footage disaster movie, but not quite. Chronicle stretched the found-footage thing to the limit, by using absolutely every possible camera around to show what was happening at any given time. Into the Storm seems to be doing a similar thing, but then we have shots that make no sense for a found-footage movie. If you’re gonna break your rule and use wide shots to show the big setpiece moments, might as well drop the entire found-footage thing, right? But then Twister meets Cloverfield was probably their elevator pitch, so I guess that’s what they sort of delivered.”


A simple rain shower soon becomes something far more terrifying (image via YouTube (c) Warner Bros)
A simple rain shower soon becomes something far more terrifying (image via YouTube (c) Warner Bros)


But then what disaster movie doesn’t tinker with the pretty much everything, including the laws of physics, for dramatic affect?

What intrigues me about Into the Storm, despite its syfy schlock, disaster-of-the-week movie feel, is that it comes along when the ramifications of a global warming such as ever more extreme weather events are becoming ever more prevalent.

And while the trailer may suggest a slightly overwrought, almost melodramatic feel to proceedings as Richard Armitage’s (The Hobbit) school teacher and Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) intrepid stormchaser do their best in the midst of a monster tornado to find the former’s missing son, it does an awesomely good job of showing nature as it’s royally pissed off finest, a reminder that we live on this earth only at the whim of Mother Nature.

Watching school hallways being ripped terrifyingly apart while teachers and students shelter within, whole airport’s worth of planes being swept up into the sky and people by the dozen fleeing a storm’s wrath barely ahead of its vengeful fury is gripping stuff indeed, an unnerving sign of things to come possibly (although I sure as hell hope not), all hopefully be matched by performances of equally impressive calibre.

It’s hard to say how good a narrative accompanies all this Michael Bay-esque action, or how strong the characterisations are, since the trailer focuses heavily, understandably so, on the tornados and their destructive effects, but if they have managed to keep all things balanced, we may have a successor to Twister on our hands, one that entertains as much as it alarms.

Into the Storm twists its way into theatres in USA on 8 August 2014 and Australia on 4 September. 


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