Weather nerds rejoice. The film for which you have waited has finally arrived. The rest of you, move along, theres nothing much to see here. INTO THE STORM takes a ragtag group of disparate people and moves them through a ragtag script that boldly goes where everyone has gone before. The one thing the film has to recommend itself is some interesting special effects that demonstrate the power of Mother Nature when shes slinging tornadoes. Alas, it is in ensconced in a dreary excuse for filmmaking.
The first group of disparate people are a high school vice-principal (Richard Armitage of HOBBIT fame) with an uncertain Oklahoma accent), his two adolescent sons (Max Deacon, Nathan Kress) who are not coping well with the death of their mother, and the girl (Alycia Debman Carey) on whom one of the sons is crushing. Its Graduation Day, of course, and the sun is shining brightly, so the ceremony will be outdoors, making the mad dash for cover when the rain begins to fall all the more fun. The second group is a band of storm chasers led by a grizzled veteran (Matt Walsh) looking for that one great piece of footage for his next documentary, the beauteous single-mom who is also a crack meteorologist (Sarah Wayne Callies), and a gaggle of callow cameramen with varying degrees of experience all keen to be racing towards an elusive tower of angry wind. The third group, and putative comic relief, are some good ol boys trying for online fame with their video of the impending storm. Think Jackass, but with lower production values.
Of course they will all cross paths after the usual plot tropes involving tense families, ruthless filmmakers, a teary mother explaining to her five-year-old why she cant come home, a pair of missing teenagers, and idiots with electronics. Actually the idiots attempting to jump a flaming above-ground pool in hopes of online fame is pretty interesting for its depiction of what a video-based society becomes when the life of the mind is neglected, but thats about it for the storyline. The writing here is so banal that the build-up to the action is nothing less than a checklist of all the things to which we need to pay attention because they will come in handy later, like that winch on the storm-chasers tank, and that menacing pit in the abandoned paper mill where those two missing teens find themselves.
The effects, now thats different. Undercut by a ridiculously overwrought score, there are troops of tornadoes dancing on the flat Oklahoma plains, a flaming tornado twisting to heaven and taking a hapless human on the ride of his life, and assorting things flying through the air that shouldnt be. Oh, and the fleet of planes tossed heavenward by the mega-tornado. Of course theres a mega-tornado, and a dire prediction by the beauteous meteorologist that such things will become more common and in places where no tornado has gone before because of what we have done to provoke climate change.
INTO THE STORM is so laughably bad that the missed opportunity of making it a deliberate comedy is sad. Throw in a few sharks, and maybe a chainsaw, a la SyFys delightful SHARKNADO, and we would have had something here worth watching.