INTO THE STORM – Review by Susan Granger

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Far too timely in the season of tornados, this action-packed, natural disaster thriller features professional storm-chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs and some teenagers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Set in the region of the Midwest region known as Tornado Alley, it begins on Graduation morning at Silverton High School. As vice-principal, Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) is in charge of making sure everything runs on time – without a hitch. Problem is: the weather report worries him. A widower/single father, he’s shepherding two sons, Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress), through their difficult teenage years. Although it’s Donnie’s responsibility to film the ceremony, he sneaks off to hang out with Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey), helping her with a video project concerning environmental awareness, leaving his younger brother in charge of the camera. Suddenly, a tremendous storm approaches, bringing with it a professional storm-chasing team, headed by documentary filmmaker Pete Moore (Matt Walsh) with Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) as his meteorologist and three camera operators (Lee Whittaker, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter). Plus, there are the adrenaline junkies, Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), whose crazy, daredevil antics are supposed to temporarily ease the tension with a little humor.

Populated by generic, one-dimensional characters who speak in clichés, it’s written by John Swetnam and directed by Steven Quale. What makes viewing it memorable are the intense, amazingly realistic visual effects, which depict not only the wind and rain but also the monstrous impact of several cyclones striking the same place at the same time, leaving destruction in their wake. There’s also a provocative issue revolving around how reality television has made stars of several real-life storm chasers, prompting scores of people to take irresponsible risks in order to capture the video or image that will make them rich and famous.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Into the Storm” is a suspenseful 6, a truly terrifying thrill ride.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.