Fantasia Film Festival 2014: Into the Storm (2014)

I’m not exactly sure why, but Into the Storm was definitely one of my anticipated films of 2014.  I personally like these disaster movies a lot because for one, they usually are quite entertaining.  The only thing I didn’t expect was that it was found footage.  Plus, this is possibly Richard Armitage’s first full feature movie and thats pretty awesome because I think he is a great actor and deserves a lot more screen time.  So, I happily bought tickets for the advanced screening of Into the Storm at Fantasia Film Festival and settled in to watch this one after a crazy day at work.  The weather was stormy the whole day as well and turned relatively chilly by the time I was standing outside in line.  Then the whole going in experience was pretty intense with security checking if my phone was closed two times and then seeing a few security lined up to make sure no one was filming the movie.  It was quite the adventurous Monday night!

Let’s check it out 🙂

Into the stormDirector: Steven Quale

Cast: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam Carey

In the small town of Silverton, Gary (Richard Armitage) is the vice principal of the high school there and they are preparing for their graduation ceremony. While asking his sons, Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress) to help record time capsules for the graduating class, a heavy storm hits them harder than they expected.  However, Donnie has left Trey to help Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey), a girl that he’s had a crush on forever with her project. At the same time, storm chasers Pete (Matt Walsh) and his crew along with their specialist, Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies), they are trying to catch this heavy storm and projected tornado, the first in over a year to keep their funding up. Except, this tornado turned out a lot more than they bargained for.

Into the Storm

I’m sure everyone has seen their fair share of disaster movies.  The expectations are always the same where the story is pretty thin, the dialogue is cheesy and the CGI is pretty campy as well.  Everything is just a bunch of adrenaline rush that you can laugh at.  The better one of these would be ones that exceed that and make you care for whats going on and gives you an exciting and memorable ride.  Into the Storm is one that I believe achieves something more.  Sure, the characters do and say some stupid things and sometimes, the wonder what these crazy people are doing and the first part before the storm happens is a bit lame BUT! There is a but to this, the effects and computer graphics (and all that fancy stuff) makes it look so real.  Once we get past that something like 10-15 minutes in the beginning and the storm hits (not with a tornado right away), its just non-stop crazy adrenaline rushing through your veins.  Honestly, I was uncertain about how good this movie would be and when it started, my doubts were starting to set in but then it just started getting more and more intense and action-packed as it neared the end.  By the end, I have to admit that I really did care about what happened to everyone.

Into the Storm

In terms of the cast, I’d have to say that no one irritated me a lot. Usually these movies always has that one person that does stupid things.  The girl who played Kaitlyn said some silly things at one point but then given the situation she was in, I was okay with it.  Then there was some funny moments and some dramatic ones as well.  Still, it was all acceptable.  Even the young guys in this one was alright.  I mean, Donnie, played by Max Deacon, was pretty smart other than the fact of getting himself into the situation he was in.  Trey, played Nathan Kress, was at times the one who lightened the mood a little here and there.  They were as good as I’d expect them to be.

Into the Storm

As for the bigger roles, there’s Richard Armitage.  I can’t really get around this without talking about him because he was one of the reasons I saw this.  I think the man can do no wrong and I was pretty impressed with it given the script is just running around looking for his son and he gets caught up the storm chasing craze.  He plays the responsible father who wants to make sure his sons are together no matter what and to keep them from any danger.  At the same time, his character bonds with the single mother specialist Allison who wants more and more to get back to little girl as the storm gets worse.  I liked both of their characters a lot and as the movie went along, I believe I bonded with those two characters the most.

Into The Storm

Another character worth mentioning is Pete who is the leader of the storm chasing crew who wants to make this documentary and keep their funding for it.  He is portrayed by Matt Walsh.  Now, Pete is a character who causes the friction in the group, on top of the actual problems going on outside that is completely out of everyone’s control.  His character only cares about getting this documentary made because its his last chance or else its all gone. He pushes people to their limits and sometimes, is the complete asshole (excuse my language).  Except, in any movie, you need someone like that to challenge everyone to give the movie something extra.

Into the Storm

One of the reasons this review took me so long to write other than getting the previous reviews out was that I was analyzing what I liked about it because I honestly had a lot of fun with it.  Overall, Into the Storm is a crazy adrenaline packed ride full of believable effects and giant tornadoes.  Despite the not so unique script, the cast does deliver a decent performance that carries the movie to some levels where the audience can connect with them at the end.  Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies and Matt Walsh are definitely the notable performances here.  I’m in no way saying this is anything special in terms of storyline but the effects push this one above others that I’ve seen and I believe that makes it worth a shot 🙂

Somehow I keep getting caught in this found footage genre for Fantasia Festival unintentionally and its opened my eyes to some pretty great movies.  Its making me want to see more of them.

Into the Storm opens August 8th in theatres in Montreal.  I’m not sure about where you are.

Have you seen the trailer? What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy disaster movies like these ones? How about found footage? Are you a fan of Richard Armitage, Sara Wayne Callies and/or Matt Walsh?