‘Into the Storm’

If beings from another galaxy were to see “Into the Storm” they could come away with the impression that video recording devices make people extremely risky. For a lean ninety minutes this “found footage” styled movie about a town besieged by tornados on a single day shows people taking huge risks to capture weather footage or perform insane stunts. Alien beings might skip Earth.

As a summer blockbuster with scant story to cling to, “Into the Storm” somehow manages to hold up a mirror to our culture that is overly obsessed with videoing everything and what it may bring to their lives. Its like a SyFy channel B-movie without the ridiculous charms of animals and beasts fighting and wreaking havoc. The difference here is that the filmmakers have more money to work with and some very talented visual effects artists to flesh out the destruction that follows.

“Into the Storm” follows three groups of people that eventually intersect – a documentary filmmaker following the storms hoping to capture footage that will educate, a high school AV Club student getting footage for a time capsule (his dad’s the vice-principal) and two “Jackass” wannabes that video over the top stunts believing it will make them famous. They all collide when a multitude of tornadoes touch down, combining comic relief with family drama.

Its simple story (yes, it follows along the lines of “Twister” just with more characters) is augmented with a lot of disaster set-pieces that looks amazing. Coming close to being disaster porn, the PG-13 rated movie is more loud than gratuitous but scenes constantly work to put people in harm’s way, like high school graduation continuing even as it’s raining.

But as big summer movies like “The Expendables 3″ and “Sin City” have quickly vanished from cinemas or dropped to minimal show times, “Into the Storm” has stuck around well after its release date in early August. Maybe simplicity is the key, and that its family drama about a strained relationship between father and son added to its appeal. Then again, maybe it’s the enjoyment of watching stuff get tossed around and torn up because we know it’s not real.

“Into the Storm” stars familiar faces Richard Armitage (“The Hobbit”) and Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”) and directed by Steven Quayle, someone who knows his way around visual effects. Quayle worked on “Titanic” and “Avatar” and delivered a taut opening bridge collapse sequence for his directing debut “Final Destination 5.”