There is a craze surrounding movies that are so bad that they become good. It’s difficult to reach that level usually reserved for movies like “Road House” or “Showgirls”. And no, trash like “Sharknado” does not count. That movie is purposefully bad, which is essentially cheating. A movie can only reach this rarified air if it does it naturally. In this case, “naturally” means by accident.
“Into the Storm” almost gets to that “Battlefield Earth” level, but falls just short. But make no mistake, “Into the Storm” is pretty darn bad. This is a B-movie (at best) with C-level actors whose main goal is to not be killed by a handful of tornados that are essentially attacking a tiny town in Oklahoma.
“Into the Storm” wants to be some kind of “found footage” type of movie, as seemingly every human being in it is filming the tornados’ every move. There is a team of storm chasers led by documentarian Pete (Matt Walsh), who mostly bosses his employees around, much to the chagrin of single mother and meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies).
The storm chasers eventually meet up with cliche-ridden dad Gary (Richard Armitage), who needs their help to save his son Donnie (Max Deacon). Donnie was supposed to video that day’s scheduled high school graduation at the behest of his vice principal father, but he ditched that to help his big crush, Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey), complete a documentary.
The rest of the movie is nothing more than actors standing around, looking shocked as they find themselves in the middle of a tornado attack. Perhaps they look perplexed because the special effects in “Into the Storm” are straight from a SyFy Channel made for TV movie?
But if you find golf ball sized hail captivating and terrifying, then this movie could be for you.
Director Steven Quale sure seems to have squandered a $50 million budget. There are movies that have done so much more with less. It’s tough to tell what effects are practical or CGI due to the fact that everything looks like it was shot on green screen. In fact, this is one of the most flat-appearing movies that you could ever see on the big screen.
Richard Armitage isn’t a stranger to CGI-laden movies, as he is Thorin in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy. Many people complain about how much of a jerk Thorin is in those movies and Armitage seems to be channeling that same mentality here. His baritone voice is already fairly off putting, so it just amplifies the rudeness.
The other characters are mostly there for you to decide who isn’t going to live out the day. There is one character in particular that is doomed from the start, leaving little doubt that he or she won’t have a happy ending.
Poor Matt Walsh. Most of the time, Walsh is a reliable source of comedic relief with his tiny roles, most notably as the emergency room doctor in “The Hangover”. Walsh could have been the one thing that made “Into the Storm” become a cultish classic just by being his normal funny self. Instead, the team behind this movie decided to make him a heel, seemingly incapable of saying anything funny.
“Into the Storm” also can’t resist tossing in two idiots that are meant as comedic relief. Naturally, they are beyond irritating. Screenwriter John Swetnam seems like the type of writer that doesn’t think one Jar-Jar Binks is enough and you just have to have two. In fact, these two redneck morons are so stereotypical that people from Oklahoma that don’t sound like they were raised in a barn could actually be offended.
The fact that “Into the Storm” is being released in theaters is quite confounding. It should be reserved for that 11 PM time slot on some fringe cable channel. In fact, that bloated budget (again, with nothing to really show for it on screen) is even more confusing. These brain dead releases usually go way low on spending, knowing that one good weekend in box office returns usually turns into profit. But $50 million? That’s going to be tough to recoup.
The best thing about “Into the Storm” is that it is only 89 minutes long. While this is just an overall terrible movie, the worst thing about it is that it doesn’t even show a flying cow, which would have been a pretty sweet homage to the greatest movie about tornados of all time.
Seriously, where are Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt when you need them?