Into the Storm walks the line between "truly awful" and "so bad it's good" so deftly that it almost seems like it is on purpose. A found footage take on the Twister mix of locals and stormchasers, the film features some decent spectacle, but has no story or character work to prop up the effects shots. Split between two overarcing storylines, the first follows filmmaker Pete (Matt Walsh), driven to get footage from the 'eye' of a tornado in his specially designed storm hunting tank. He is joined by meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) and her interns. The other storyline follows the local vice principal, Gary (Richard Armitage) and his two sons (Jeremy Sumpter and Nathan Kress) on the day of graduation when the storm hits.
Every line of dialogue in the film is purely functional, with characters either explaining what is happening or their feelings at that moment. There is no subtext or even an attempt to make the dialogue sound like the way actual human beings talk. The rest of the film also exists entirely on the surface level, and the dialogue sounds like it was written in a high school French class and then translated back to English. Found footage films should feature the most natural dialogue possible, but instead they all seem to rely on overly scripted monologues and exaggerated reactions like that of a reality TV reenactment. I actively hated most of the characters in the movie, but that might be part of the fun.
The most forgivable thing about the film is the ridiculousness of it all. While not obviously aspiring to be B-level schlock al la Sharknado, this film does have its share of ridiculous moments, from the storm causing a 'meet cute' to a tornado made out of fire. I do have praise for the level of spectacle in the film, and it manages to have moments of excitement and a bit of terror, but which is usually undercut by the level of silliness of the moments that seem to inevitably follow.
Into the Storm isn't trying to appeal to weather nerds, and though there are so many things wrong with the film, if the intention is to make an enjoyable, yet very dumb movie, it certainly succeeds in that endeavor.
Into the Storm opens in Philly theaters today.