Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Scott Lawrence, Max Deacon, Alycia Debnam Carey (Rated M – 89 min).
Disaster movies hit their peak in the 1970s with such grand-scale epics as The Towering Inferno, Earthquake and The Poseidon Adventure. Climate, or lack of it, was a concern in Waterworld, a watery catastrophe of polar ice caps melting, flooding the planet with only a web-footed Kevin Costner and a tattooed map to find an alleged island of solace. Personally, I really liked the 1995 flop and it’s worth revisiting the extended edition on DVD.
Extreme weather has often been the cause of disaster. Day After Tomorrow followed this trend and who could forget Twister – an instant hit and well loved DVD favourite. Surprisingly, a sequel never emerged but although there is not a flying cow in sight, Into The Storm has similar traits, a kind of Twister for the new millennium.
Silvertown is a small Michigan community that is hit by a barrage of category 5 tornadoes. Most of the film is ‘found footage’ style, either through the lens of news crews, professional storm chasers or courageous townsfolk and idiot teenagers getting too close shooting on their iPhones. Watching people in peril saying such obvious lines as ‘let’s get out of here’ is part of the fun. What this film lacks in A-list actors it gains with magnificent state of the art digital effects taking the audience right into the vortex. Acting really is secondary to the madness unveiling before your eyes. The tornadoes come in pairs or more, one even breaths fire making the one that swept Dorothy from Kansas to Oz look like a puffed out mini-cyclone.
Thundering sound effects also go to extremes during two particular pulsating moments; an airport vertically losing its planes and when an entire panicking school runs for cover. Distinctive Australian talent Alycia Debnam Carey is a stand-out amongst the mayhem as Kaitlyn, while character-actor veteran Scott Lawrence becomes a voice of reason as the faculty principal trying to protect his students.
Hold on, as far as high scale chaotic climate adventure goes, this is a big screen must. Atmospheric pressure systems leap from the screen prompting intense grabbing at the cinema chairs.
Shane A. Bassett