There are few things scarier to a Midwesterner than when those unmistakable tornado sirens start blaring. My experiences with these hellish winds probably contributed to my childhood obsession with watching tornado footage. I bought innumerable VHS tapes and watched hundreds of videos caught on film by people who assumed the risk of getting the monstrous weather phenomenon. One common thread through those videos is that even when the person filming was at a safe distance the camera shook like they were having a violent seizure. Therefore, I couldn’t help but laugh when I watched the trailer for Into the Storm and saw people clinging to cars, gates and anything they could grab for dear life while the camera rolls on and it’s clear as day.
Before I start sounding too negative about this trailer, I want to say that despite what I’m about to say, if I had the money, I would have funded this film myself three times over. I love disaster movies and I love movies about tornadoes or dangerous weather conditions in general. I have a soft spot for Twister and the only parts of The Day After Tomorrow I like are the weather disasters. Still, I’ve always felt there was something missing in these movies. There are plenty of examples of bad movies about weather that have aspects that I like, but few have ever really struck the true horror of living in areas where the threat is present or captured the horror in the anticipation.
Before the full trailer, a mysterious little teaser rolled online that used the sound of the sirens and a brief silence to near perfection before a really intense shot of the powerful winds and a girl holding on for dear life as a truck is thrust in her direction. This teaser got my hopes up insanely high as I took to the internet researching what this film was that came out of nowhere. As it turns out, it’s a film shot in Detroit by Steven Quale (director of Final Destination 5) and currently is set for release August 8th, currently up against the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot.
In the teaser the text on screen says “Tomorrow Go” then “#IntoTheStorm.” So tomorrow came and of course I saw the entire trailer had been posted. I couldn’t wait to see the full version of the awesomeness I saw in the teaser.
Then I made the mistake of watching it.
What I saw was not what I expected from the teaser in the slightest. I even read “reports” from test screenings of people saying it was more realistic than Twister and way less cheesy. People, this looks every bit as ridiculous and cheesy as Twister. Additionally, there are shots in the trailer that the tornadoes look every bit as fake as they did in the TV movie Night of the Twisters.
I was more than a little stunned that people were saying how realistic Into the Storm was, if in fact these reports from test screenings are to be believed. There is a shot featuring three tornadoes fairly close together and two characters running just fine right next to one of them. Meanwhile, in another shot, the characters are at a reasonable distance and one of them is holding on to a car door for dear life as her body and legs are in the air about to be pulled into the storm. While this kind of stuff looks cool cinematically, I will scoff at anyone who wants to tell me this looks realistic. I won’t even get started on the final shots of the trailer featuring a whole bunch of airplanes being whipped around by a massive tornado.
It’s not all doom and gloom, because the trailer opens once again with some great sound of what sounds like wind tearing apart a home or whipping things around with the tornado siren blaring in the back. The text explains that these noises are sounds you will never forget and if you live in the Midwest and have ever been in the threat of a tornado, you know that is a fact. The first shot of the trailer after all the darkness and text is great. It features people who’ve sought shelter in a school as it is being torn to shreds and looks quite convincing. After that though, it all goes into Hollywood disaster overload.
The IMDb synopsis says this is about high school students documenting the events and aftermath of a tornado, which seems to be only half right. Documenting seems to be a stretch. Whoever is behind the camera must either be a superhero impervious to high winds or Quale wants us to suspend our disbelief to such a degree to buy that this person would one: continue holding a camera during some of these events (something that’s normal for the found footage subgenre); or Two: be ABLE to hold on to the camera during some of these events. It’s possible that like many found footage movies it might try to cut to other points of view where cameras are present, but even then in the event of extremely high winds and the danger tornadoes bring, holding a camera absolutely still so all the action is crisp and clear is 100% impossible. Hell, if you hand me a camera on a beautiful sunny day, I couldn’t capture the quality of the images in this trailer.
Aside from all the unpleasantness of being somewhat let down by the trailer, this does look pretty damn cool. I can’t be too down on it after I just mentioned how I still like Twister and a bunch of other ridiculous disaster movies. I originally questioned if this would be part disaster movie and part survival in the aftermath, but I’m getting the distinct impression this will be almost entirely a disaster movie. Coming from the direct of Final Destination 5 I can’t say I’m surprised, but with a PG-13 rating I don’t think this will be disaster movie meets Final Destination, which is badass in its own way. Though I suppose most disaster movies have the same traits as the aforementioned series, just without the graphic deaths.
Overall, I’m still pretty well pumped for Into the Storm in spite of my issues and expectations going into the debut of the full trailer. As long as it’s fun and tries to cut down on the cheesiness in the acting, I have a feeling it will be a pretty enjoyable guilty pleasure.
What do you think of the trailer for Into the Storm? Does it look realistic to you? How would you go about making a realistic tornado movie? Sound off below!