'Into the Storm' Review: 'Sharknado' Without Sharks

My hope was that like "Piranha 3D" (2010),  "Shark Knight" (2011) and "Doomsday" (2008), "Into the Storm" would not only embrace its genre roots but put the pedal to the metal as far as carnage, creatively grisly deaths, and gratuitous nudity. What we got is a C-grade TV movie with Sci-Fi Channel -- sorry --Syfy Channel-level special effects.

Welcome to August. 

Somewhere over the town of Silverton Oklahoma, an unprecedented weather system develops that can't stop creating tornadoes: Big tornadoes, small tornadoes, twin tornadoes, tornado armies, and mile-wide tornadoes more destructive than a 'roid-raged Godzilla.

Caught in the middle is the graduating class of Silverton high school; professional tornado chasers; two countrified yahoos in search of YouTube fame; and a stereotypically busy dad with stereotypically embittered teenage sons dealing with the stereotypical loss of a stereotypically dead mom.

The human interaction between the disaster set-pieces makes "Twister" look like Tolstoy. The "drama" is as bad as those 1970's all-star Irwin Allen disaster movies that came long after Allen had run out of ideas. So instead of having superstars like Michael Caine, Richard Widmark, Jacqueline Bissett and Paul Newman spouting terrible dialogue, it's vacant teenage girls, metrosexual teenage boys, and whats-his-name TV stars.

"Into the Storm" can't even decide if it belongs in the found footage genre. While much of the movie is contrived around someone holding a camera, at times it's just not. Whatevs.

To its credit, "Into the Storm" certainly isn't boring and does have positive things to say about the human spirit, the heartland of America, and even how it's better to have a weapon and not need it then to need it and not have it.

Naturally there's the expected enviro-wacko vibe. But all that nonsense comes from a chirpy, very-concerned-about-the-planet-n-stuff teenage hottie, so maybe the movie is a brilliant piece of right-wing subversion. The inept principal did look an awful lot like Barack Obama.

I'm grasping.

"Into the Storm" could have ruled like Ramses. Why did it have to take itself so gosh-darned seriously?  Far be it for me to tell someone else how to make a movie but some zombies and sharks and nudity and buckets of blood and a caustic sense of humor and a C. Thomas Howell cameo surely wouldn’t have hurt.


John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC             


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