Into the Storm (2014)

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The disaster film was once a genre that looked to take over the world. The reason it didn’t is very clear – no matter how entertaining they were, they were never good. Even the most beloved disaster films – Poseidon, The Towering Inferno, Airport – are just loved because of what they are and how they are most nostalgic memories than well-made films, and we constantly overlook the fact that they are not really that great. Disaster films have still been made sporadically, and while the visuals get much more impressive, the films themselves remain disappointing at best, atrocious at worst. Into the Storm, the latest disaster thriller, was a mixed bag.

One thing Into the Storm does succeed in that very few recent disaster thrillers fail to do is get a relatively notable cast. They might not be immediate box office draws, but the cast does have some familiar faces in it, which greatly helps it feel less like a trashy film and something fairly legitimate. However, the downside is pretty much all the performances in this film were bad – they ranged from mediocre to laughably bad. I am not sure if it was because the actors chose to see this film as an easy paycheck, or because the script was filled with the poorest dialogue imaginable, it is a dreadful waste of a pretty talented cast.

Visually, this is an incredibly impressive film. The visuals are some of the best the genre has ever encountered, and quite possibly is the film’s one and only redeeming quality. The visuals capture the terror and despair and purest horror an event like this could cause, and the special effects are actually so good, they blur the line between reality and computer-generated imagery. Like I said, it is perhaps the only thing that makes the film relatively watchable, and considering how bad the rest of the film is, that is a massive feat.

My biggest irritation with many films is predictability – there seems to be a preordained formula for movies across all genres, and it seems the rationale going around is that in order for your film to succeed, it needs to follow that formula, basically crafting the same story over and over again, with different locations and different characters. It irritates me, because after a while, anyone who has seen enough of a certain genre can sit and without any prior knowledge of the film’s plot, patiently sit and predict every cadence and aspect of the film. Into the Storm is one of the worst offenders of this. You basically know how the film is going to end from the very moment it begins. There is absolutely no element of surprise to the story at all. It is conventional, safe and frustrating because if there was any way for the film to redeem itself, it would be to actually put a shocking twist somewhere, or at least dare to be different. However, it plays it too safe, and is an incredible bore.

Into the Storm is a mediocre movie. It is predictable, boring and not very smart. The visuals are the only good thing about the film, which is a shame as they were wasted on something so unremarkable. It is definitely not a good film, and one that is purely for some time of mindless escapism where you don’t want to think, because with a film this mediocre, there isn’t much space for any deep or meaningful thought.

(For the record, there is another film also entitled Into the Storm, starring Brendan Gleeson as Winston Churchill. That film is delightful and is worth seeking out)

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