Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out this weekend, but I decided not to pay Michael Bay to retroactively ruin my childhood. I didn’t completely forego 90s nostalgia, though. I chose Into the Storm, a tornado movie that I hoped would re-create the ‘wow’ factor from my first viewing of Twister.
A high school vice principal and his videographer son tag along with a team of tornado chasers in order to rescue his other son from a tornado-demolished factory.
Armchair storm chasing is one of my family’s favorite hobbies. Everybody who was in town turned out for this movie, even though it wasn’t all that popular among regular folks. Into the Storm was no Twister. Take out the tornados and it would be terrible. But you can’t take out the tornados, because it’s a tornado movie. So it’s still pretty awesome.
We begin in typical found footage horror movie fashion, with some idiots getting killed. FWOAR tornado! We’re off to an exciting start. Then we cut to brothers Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress) whining on-camera about their mean, slave-driving dad Gary (Richard Armitage) making them record everything for the high school’s video yearbook. Donnie cuts out on the graduation ceremony to shoot a demo reel at a run down factory with his crush Kaitlyn (Alycia Debham Carey).
Yes, whine all you like. It will cover the sound of approaching TORNADOS!!
Trey stays with Gary to record the ceremony. Despite the fact that they live smack dab in the middle of tornado alley, no one in town seems to be aware of the fact that a huge storm is coming. Except a cash-strapped tornado chasing team lead by Pete (Matt Walsh) and Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) and two YouTubers with a helmet cam (Kyle Davis and Jon Reep).
Hey Cleetus! Lookit me! I’m dancin’ with a tornadah!
The world’s crappiest, most glass-filled storm shelter.
So Gary and Trey and their school mates are fine… except for those people who got sucked outside. Nobody cares about those guys. They were probably douchebags anyway. Donnie and Kaitlyn, on the other hand, are trapped in a hole with a factory on top of it. Oh, and it’s filling up with water.
TICKING CLOCK ESTABLISHED. Commence rescue operations.
Gary and Trey race to save them but get caught downtown by another tornado. Which everyone stands gormlessly around and watches. This probably isn’t all that unrealistic given our generation’s obsession with citizen videography.
Just one more minute! I gotta get this shot!
Even Pete and Allison are in on the craze. Their chasing team doesn’t consist of meteorologists and scientists and navigators and computer experts and auto mechanics like the one from Twister. Allison is the only scientist. Everyone else: Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta), Jake (Jeremy Sumpter), Lucas (Lee Whittaker), and even Pete is out to get a video of the eye of a tornado. That’s why they built the tank. To put cameras in. Pete thinks that somehow this video will save lives, but that is ridiculous.
What? They did the ‘placing sensors’ thing in Twister!
Gary’s car is trashed in the second tornado but luckily the tornado chasers are heading out toward the factory anyway, so they can go together. And be beset along the way by about a jillion tornados. This is well-nigh impossible, but the movie blames it on Global Warming, which regular people don’t really understand anyway, so we’re all good.
Except even regular people know you can’t stand that close to a fricking tornado.
Remember that part in Twister that everyone scoffs at? Where the main characters weather 300 mile an hour winds by strapping themselves to a pipe and somehow manage not to be aerated by every fence post and grass blade in three counties? Well this entire movie is like that scene. Ten minutes in and every single character should be dead.
GARY: Hold on!
ALLISON: I think I just swallowed a parking meter!
They’re underground at least.
But you know what? People don’t go to disaster movies for realism. If there’s realism, that’s just a bonus. Because we go to disaster movies for the OH MY GOD factor, and Into the Storm has it in spades. Watch.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I really enjoyed Into the Storm. I might even watch it again. Some people love giant robots. I love tornados. If you’re the type of person who sits out on the porch with popcorn during thunderstorms, you’ll like Into the Storm too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twister DVD I need to watch.