Into the Storm (2014 film)
|Into the Storm|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Quale|
|Produced by||Todd Garner|
|Written by||John Swetnam|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Eric A. Sears|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$161.7 million|
Into the Storm is a 2014 American found footage disaster film directed by Steven Quale, written by John Swetnam, starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies. The film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on August 8, 2014. It is a meteorological disaster film about a rash of tornadoes striking Silverton, Oklahoma.
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A tornado hits the car carrying four high school students, killing them all. In the town of Silverton, Oklahoma, the local high school senior class is preparing for graduation. The high school's vice-principal, Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage), has asked his two sons, Trey and Donnie, to record messages from the seniors for a time capsule to be opened in 25 years. Elsewhere, Pete (Matt Walsh), a veteran storm chaser, has been attempting to intercept and film tornadoes using a heavily armored Tornado Intercept Vehicle nicknamed Titus, but has come up short all year long. Upon learning of a major line of developing storms, the chasers confer and decide to head for Silverton in hopes of filming tornadoes. After arriving in Silverton, the team discovers that the cell they had been chasing has dissipated, upsetting Pete. As the team reconvenes to determine its next move, the Silverton cell abruptly strengthens, resulting in a hailstorm and tornado. As the team films, the funnel abruptly shifts course and heads for the high school.
At the high school, the senior students are participating in commencement ceremonies when the weather suddenly sours. Moments later, the tornado sirens sound, and the students are subsequently marshaled into the school building by the head principal and his staff. In the aftermath of the tornado, shaken students emerge from the damaged building to view the destruction, while Gary sets out to rescue his eldest son Donnie, who had gone to an abandoned paper mill to help his friend Katlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey) with a project; both were subsequently trapped when the tornado brought the building down on them.
As Pete's storm chase team stops in a small part of town, a tornado takes shape just as Gary and Trey arrive, destroying several buildings. Before the tornado dissipates Gary must save Pete's meteorologist, Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies), when she fails to make it to safety with the others. Then, after Gary pleads for help, Pete's team agree to help Gary get to the paper mill. While en route, another round of erratic tornadoes forms and encircles Pete's team, in the process destroying a residential neighborhood and a car lot. An explosion turns one of the tornadoes into a firenado, which Jacob the cameraman, (Jeremy Sumpter), tries to film, only to be caught up in the storm and killed. This causes friction between Pete and his team, as Pete's concern seems to be more on collecting data than ensuring his team's safety. After recovering their vehicles, Allison leaves with Gary to continue their trip to the paper mill.
At the mill, the two trapped students attempt to use their phones to call for help, but the storm's devastation has rendered the phones almost useless. To make matters worse, a water pipe abruptly breaks and begins to flood the hole in which the two are trapped. Injured and at risk of drowning, the two record messages for their loved ones, then prepare for the worst. At the last minute, Gary and Allison arrive and successfully free the two students.
In the skies above Silverton, a convergence of two large tornadoes results in a colossal EF5 tornado that threatens to level the town. The town's citizens have taken shelter at the school, but Pete's team determines that the school's storm shelter will be inadequate in the face of the monstrous tornado. Unable to alert the school's staff with mobile devices, Pete's team rushes to the school to notify the citizens that they must evacuate. While citizens rush to board school buses to flee the advancing storm, Pete and his team move to track and follow the storm, but the last school bus and a handful of cars are cut off from the retreat due to a downed transmission tower.
In an attempt to improvise a shelter, the storm chasers and school refugees take cover in a storm drain at a construction site, but debris from the tornado damages one of the storm grates, compromising the shelter. In an attempt to save lives, Pete hands over his research hard drives to Gary, then sacrifices himself by leaving the shelter to move Titus down to the storm grate, where a combination of the vehicle's weight, ground anchors, and winch cable are used to anchor the storm grate to the concrete face. Titus's equipment proves unable to anchor the vehicle to the ground, and the tornado picks up the vehicle. From the camera turret aboard Titus, Pete observes the funnel of the tornado as the vehicle is lifted above the clouds, before then crashing back down to the ground, apparently killing him. Shortly thereafter, the EF5 tornado dissipates.
In the aftermath of the tornado outbreak, the townspeople begin efforts to clean up and rebuild. As Gary's sons move to complete their time capsule film, many of those they interview after the tornadoes express a newfound appreciation for their lives, and a hopeful outlook on life. Allison praises Pete's sacrifice and dedication to science.
The last footage shows the two local daredevils Donk and Reevis, who are sucked by the tornado while filming it earlier, revealed to have survived the storm.
- Richard Armitage as Gary Fuller, the vice principal of Silverton High School
- Sarah Wayne Callies as Allison Stone, the somewhat passionate meteorologist on Pete's team. Her desire to be with her daughter often angers Pete.
- Matt Walsh as Peter "Pete" Moore, the veteran storm chaser leader of his team. His attitude changes significantly throughout the film. 
- Max Deacon as Donnie Fuller, a junior at Silverton High School
- Alycia Debnam-Carey as Kaitlyn Johnston, a junior at Silverton High School
- Nathan Kress as Trey Fuller, a sophomore at Silverton High School
- Arlen Escarpeta as Daryl Karley, a camera operator
- Jeremy Sumpter as Jacob Hodges, a camera operator
- Lee Whittaker as Lucas Guerrette
- Kyle Davis as Donk
- Jon Reep as Reevis
- Scott Lawrence as Principal Thomas Walker
- David Drumm as Chester
- Brandon Ruiter as Todd
- Kron Moore as Mrs. Blasky
On October 28, 2011, Deadline reported that New Line Cinema bought the "found footage" natural disaster spec script written by John Swetnam, and that Todd Garner would be producing the film through his Broken Road Productions company. Garner came up with the idea for the script. On January 5, 2012 it was announced that director Steve Quale would direct the then-untitled "Found-Footage" Tornado thriller.
On April 24, 2012, Variety reported that New Line had given the green light for their next film project, about an EF6 tornado (although the current EF5 category has no upper limit), and that the film was in development and set to begin shooting on July 9 in Detroit. On August 23, 2012, the untitled "Category Six" Tornado project film got the title Black Sky, and was filming in Detroit. On September 24, 2013, New Line retitled the film to Into the Storm and set the release date to August 8, 2014.
An open casting call was held on May 19, 2012 in Pontiac, Michigan. On May 24, Alycia Debnam-Carey signed up to play a female lead. On June 1, New Line added Arlen Escarpeta to the project. On June 22, Sarah Wayne Callies signed up to play Allison Stone. On July 2, New Line cast Nathan Kress, who portrayed a brother finding his sibling. On July 11, 2012, Richard Armitage signed up to portray Gary Fuller, a widowed father who tries to rescue his son from the tornadoes. Shooting was set to begin on July 23 in Detroit. On July 13, Max Deacon joined the film's cast to play Donnie, an introverted teen with a crush on his high school's prettiest girl. Comedian Matt Walsh joined the cast of the film on August 1, 2012 to play the character of Pete.
Principal photography began in July 2012 in Detroit. On August 13, 2012, shooting moved to Rochester, Michigan, two weeks after filming wrapped in Detroit. It was also filmed in Oakland Charter Township, Oakview Middle School and Oakland University.
On September 24, 2013, Warner Bros. set the film to be released on August 8, 2014. The film was released on Digital HD on October 28, 2014, and on DVD and Blu-ray November 18, 2014.
Into the Storm grossed $46.4 million in the US and $100.4 million in other territories for a total of $146.8 million, against a production budget of $50 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 21% based on 141 reviews, with an average rating of 4.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Clumsily scripted and populated with forgettable characters, Into the Storm has little to offer beyond its admittedly thrilling special effects." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 44 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Variety's Scott Foundas called the film a feature-length VFX demo reel that makes one pine for the glory days of Jan de Bont. Scott Mendelson of Forbes reviewed the film and commented that the film is visually dazzling and mostly successful in updating the disaster film for the YouTube age. He said, "The special effects work is basically flawless, and you absolutely get what you arguably came to see. You want big-screen images of insanely large-scale tornadoes and big-scale devastation and disaster carnage? Into the Storm gives you plenty of rock-solid disaster porn."
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