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Into the Storm

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“Into the Storm” is the story of various idiots who team up to observe closely/flee in terror from a massive series of tornadoes in Oklahoma and environs. A few of the idiots are professional storm chasers, played by the likes of Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”), and Jeremy Sumpter (“Friday Night Lights”). A few more idiots come from a town in the storms’ path, where the high school graduation ceremony is going ahead as scheduled. These include a lovestruck junior named Donnie (Max Deacon), his brother Trey (Nathan Kress), and their father (Richard Armitage), who for maximum convenience is also the vice principal. Finally, there are two idiot hillbillies named Donk and Reevis (Kyle Davis, Jon Reep) who hope to get YouTube famous by following nadoes in their truck (labeled “TWISTA HUNTERZ”) and filming themselves doing dangerous things with them. It’s PG-13, so don’t expect to see as many deaths of irritating characters as you’d like to.

John Swetnam’s witless screenplay gives the bland place-holder characters nothing to do except run, argue, shout “Are you seeing this?,” and make declarations like: “I’ve studied storms my whole life. This is the biggest one that’s ever been!” For no good reason, the entire thing is “found footage” (ugh), presented as if filmed by the characters themselves. (Makes sense for the storm chasers, professional and amateur, to be filming. As for the high schoolers … well, they’re working on a time capsule project, you see.) The numerous shots that clearly came from unaccounted-for cameras, the movie is hoping we do not notice.

Ah, but then there are the nado scenes. (I’m trying to make that catch on as slang for tornado. Help me out here.) To some extent, these are what we came for anyway, having accepted long ago that most movies of this sort don’t deliver anything else. The sequences of destruction and mayhem are duly awe-inspiring, not to mention convincingly created. They’re satisfying; you’ll wish there were more of them. I note that the director, Steven Quale, has made one other feature, “Final Destination 5,” which followed the same pattern of being a lot of fun during the action scenes, almost useless the rest of the time. Whether the weather scenes in “Into the Storm” are enough to justify its existence is up to you, but my answer is no.

C- (1 hr., 29 min.; PG-13, some profanity, intense weather, destruction.)

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