Into The Storm(2014)
- RatedPG13 /GenreThriller
Into The Storm
Disaster films are nothing new. From 'Twister' to 'The Day After Tomorrow', they provide an instant hook with their frightening scenarios, but with real-life disasters being witnessed, recorded and put up on YouTube these days, it is getting harder to “shock” audiences like before the internet age.
Some moviemakers have simply decided to amp up the special effects to push for the “wow” factor, while others have come up with wacky B-grade twists on the genre ('Sharknado'), but yet, when the characters are not compelling enough, the emotional stakes just quickly vanish.
To make up for this, related genres (horror and monster movies) have begun to use the found-footage or mockumentary gimmick in order to give viewers a more grounded, character-centric perspective on fantastical things ('Paranormal Activity', 'Cloverfield')
Now, this same approach has been used on the latest disaster movie, 'Into the Storm’, directed by Steven Quale (‘Final Destionation 5’, 2011) and starring Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin Oakenfeld in ‘The Hobbit’ film series, and Sarah Wayne Callies from US TV series ‘The Walking Dead’.
The plot in brief: The people of Silverton are about to be besieged by an "unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes" as erratic storm fronts converge upon the small idyllic town in a single day. It is a rare storm that arrives suddenly, leaving the unprepared population at its mercy.
We meet many characters: storm-chasing meteorologists driven to seek the perfect shot, a couple of amateur daredevils looking for a thrill, a teenager trapped in debris, an entire high school graduating class in peril, and a father desperately trying to find his son.
All of the above may sound like stock scenarios, and they are, but what sets these situations apart is how much better the viewers are able to relate with these people. This is where the mockumentary aspect comes in handy, because even the most cliched of situations feels frighteningly real when you are put in their shoes.
The film's first-hand point of view gives added intimacy with the protagonists. There are instances that are genuinely scary and there are scenes that pull at your heartstrings — not because they were superbly written or brilliantly acted, but because you truly feel like you're in the moment.
'Into The Storm' does not use this trick throughout the whole movie, but those handful of occasions that do work are worth the price of the ticket.
‘Into The Storm’ opens 7 August 2014
Formerly the Music Editor of JUICE Magazine, Hidzir Junaini is now a writing ronin by day and vampire slayer by night. Subsisting only on coffee and naivety, the 27-year-old scribe aspires to finally complete his long-gestating novel to lukewarm reviews some time in the near future. Until then, he can be found writing about film, music, nightlife and television with the misplaced confidence unique to most Mass Communications graduates.