There was a time when diaster movies ruled the cineplexes. I can remember being in high school and going to the movies with my best friends ready to watch some random city get destroyed by some random thing. Volcanoes, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, floods, typhoons, plagues, asteriods, whatever! You name it, we saw it destroy stuff. I loved those movies because they had cool special FX, identitcal plots and always equaled a good time. It seems like the drought of disaster porn in recent years is due to an even bigger natural disaster than all those things combined -- the box office profit margin. After a viewing of Into the Storm, we now know why.
The reason why those other films were so enjoyable was because we could see A-list stars running from cutting-edge technology in CGI FX. Well now every film has cutting-edge technology in CGI FX and A-listers are too busy earning their money in far less grueling roles. What we're left with is a movie like Into the Storm that is filled with no A-listers, a horrible plot, cliche everything and FX that you can see on network television (and in some cases better). In fact, the only difference between Into the Storm and Sharknado, as far as quality is concerned, is a bigger budget and sharks.
The only faces you might recognize is Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Laurie on AMC's The Walking Dead, and the very funny Matt Walsh (The Hangover, Ted) in a role that's not funny, nor meant to be, which makes me think he only took the part for the money. The rest of the cast is rounded out by a spinning wheel of actors you'd expect in made-for-TV movies and none of which are any good. The plot is stupid and simple and consists of a few people trying to survive a freak weather condition that causes several tornadoes to wreak havoc on a midwest town.
I remember when Twister came out and everyone mocked the ending where Bill Pullman and Helen Hunt (speaking of which...where the hell has she been?) survived an F5 tornado by holding on to a leather belt strapped to a pipe. There is laughable nonsense in Into the Storm that makes that seem like a plausible experiment on Mythbusters. But stuff like that I can easily overlook just like I did when I was a kid. Suspension of disbelief is in the marrow of disaster films. No government would ever send an oil crew to space to blow up an asteriod. Rubber truck tires would never spin in hot lava. And ice wouldn't chase two people down hallways when freezing NYC. Into the Storm is no different in its "c'mon" moments but that's not what makes it bad.
Director Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) made a poorly done "found footage" movie that's got as much story as it has talent; that's to say not very much. Never for a second do you care about any of these characters which makes their fate irrelevant to you as an audience member. There are a few moments of excitement but even those are horribly executed and over too quickly. You get the impression that at some point this script featured a plot that these tornadoes were actual monster aliens who came to earth to harvest humans and the SyFy Channel passed on it so they took all that crap out and just released it in theaters instead. This is made-for-TV garbage that is trying to trick you into spending $10 to see it instead of watching it for free on your couch while you drink yourself to sleep because you had a fight with your girlfriend. Go on YouTube and watch real tornado found footage instead -- it's free and features better acting and plot.