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Movie Review

Silverton, Okla., is a special place filled with special people.

It's the sort of town where folks know and look out for one another—always willing to help remove minivans from their neighbors' roofs or search for far-flung fridges. They cherish their memories: In fact, most carry video recorders with them at all times. They have a strong appreciation for the great outdoors, and they'll frolic in Oklahoma's wide open spaces regardless of weather—running outside even when a monster tornado is barreling through town.

Yes, their apparent distaste for basements is a bit mystifying, given Oklahoma's reputation as a tornado haven. And we may also question why a town with just one high school also happens to have an international-size airport. But do not doubt the spirit of these Silverton residents—their gumption, their moxie, their derring-do. If you were to find yourself in the path of a tenacious tornado, they're exactly the sort of people you'd like to be near. They'll never let you down and, more importantly, never let you go.

Seriously, their grips are amazing. They must routinely coat their hands with some sort of super-strong Stickum.

Good thing, too. Because unbeknownst to the fine folks of Silverton, a veritable flock of twisters will soon tear through their quiet community like locusts through a wheat field or senior citizens through a $5.99 Las Vegas buffet. And to get through this weatheriffic day, they'll need all the courage, smartphone battery power and Stickum they can muster.

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Positive Elements

Into the Storm exists for just one reason: To showcase a bunch of CGI tornados obliterating a small town. But in the midst of all the physical destruction, we do see mending taking place too—emotional and familial bonds that no tornado can tear apart.

Did I just write that? Gack.

But it's true. We meet, for instance, the Fuller family—single dad (and high school vice principal) Gary and his two boys, Donnie and Trey. The three are suffering through difficulties at the film's open. Gary is a gruff, demanding father who has trouble showing affection. Donnie's a sad sack who feels the weight of his father's expectations and blames him for past trauma. Trey just wants his pops to trust him more.

But in the course of the day, all three prove to be conscientious people who rise to the occasion. Gary shows he's willing to sacrifice himself for his boys. Trey proves to be resourceful in a pinch. Donnie takes care of a pretty schoolmate and feels really bad about giving his father such a hard time.

Others also rally to save and care for their fellows. Storm chaser Allison looks to help the citizens of Silverton even when her boss, Pete, is more interested in getting good documentary footage. But Pete, too, has a moment of self-sacrifice, throwing himself in harm's way to protect others. And we learn that most everyone in Silverton is given a healthy dose of perspective when the storm clouds clear.

"Every day's just fine because I'm alive," says a previously cocky high school student, now smiling and pitching in with the cleanup. "Nothing else matters."

Spiritual Content

People duck into a church to take shelter when the winds start whipping. Pete says he wants to see inside the eye of a tornado, "a site nobody but God has witnessed." Another man says "faith" will carry the town through its lengthy rebuilding process.

Sexual Content

Trey takes (and shows off) a picture of a teacher's cleavage. Kaitlyn (Donnie's high school crush) wears a formfitting top, and Trey at one point asks Donnie to get "some skin on camera." A high schooler imagines that in 25 years he'll be married to a supermodel: He says he'll spend his days having sex.

Violent Content

In perhaps the most graphic sequence, a hapless soul is sucked up by a now-flaming vortex. People-filled vehicles are yanked upward into the storm, too, with equally tragic results. We hear screaming and swearing and shaky images of terrified passengers—all of whom die when the twister lets go and the video recorders stop working. Other people are sucked away, never to be seen again. Two nearly drown in a flooded paper factory. One man, bloodied somewhat, is rescued from a car. Somebody else requires CPR. We see a serious gash on a leg. Folks fall out of trees, get hit with debris and pounded by hailstones, are smashed into the ground, lifted into the air, etc.

Silverton's physical structures, meanwhile, are tortured, torn apart and hurled around. Cars, trucks and minivans are tossed around like toys. Airplanes are swallowed whole by the voracious clouds. Huge commercial and educational buildings are flattened. Power lines and trees come crashing down.

A couple of guys film a dangerous YouTube stunt involving a fiery pool.

Crude or Profane Language

About 25 s-words. The cluster of other profanities includes four or five each of "a--," "d--n," "h---" and "p---ed." "B--ch" is spit out once. God's name is misused more than a dozen times, twice with "d--n." Jesus' name is abused once or twice. We hear a couple of crude references to body parts.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Two amateur daredevils, Donk and Reevis, relish Silverton's chaos, in part because of their high levels of inebriation. Before the storm hits, we see their property strewn with smashed beer cans, and we thereafter see them consume even more of the stupefying stuff.

Other Negative Elements

Family dynamics between Gary and his sons are tense at first, featuring incriminations, insults, slights and cursing. Gary also discovers that Trey has in his possession an expressly forbidden knife. (As the knife becomes ever more handy during the day, all is forgiven.) Pete can come across as an unfeeling jerk at times.

Conclusion

Into the Storm has all the hallmarks of a cheap B-movie thriller. (See: Twister.) While the special effects are better than what you'd encounter on, say, the Syfy channel, all that's really separating this late-summer flick and Sharknado are the sharks.

But bad movies can have good messages in them, and here we see a father and his sons pull together when the weather seems determined—at times, quite literally—to rip them apart. Allison finds that her own priorities get more properly reset in the midst of the storm. And this flick shows us a very positive dynamic we've come to expect in real life, too: When disaster hits, we unearth the capacity to come together and care about one another more. And that's a nice thing.

That's what's salvaged from the wreckage. The wreckage itself consists of some sexual asides, frequent cursing and, naturally, a cataclysm of chaotic violence.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Richard Armitage as Gary; Sarah Wayne Callies as Allison; Matt Walsh as Pete; Max Deacon as Donnie; Nathan Kress as Trey; Alycia Debnam Carey as Kaitlyn; Arlen Escarpeta as Daryl; Jeremy Sumpter as Jacob; Lee Whittaker as Lucas; Kyle Davis as Donk; Jon Reep as Reevis

Director

Steven Quale ( Final Destination 5)

Distributor

Warner Bros.

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

August 8, 2014

On Video

November 18, 2014

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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