Who doesn’t like a good disaster film? If for no other reason than one can sit and enjoy it thinking ‘thank fuck I am not there right now’, and indeed real life potential perils can often be more terrifying than anything within the domain of the horror genre. This follows a group of storm chasers (à la ‘Twister’ 96, in fact I’m pretty sure you can hear the voice of Bill Paxton as the weather man at one point) as they descend on the small town of Silverton Oklahoma, and although the weather is taken to extremes it is entirely justified by global conditions, like Katrina as they mention, regularly going to pot. Even in the UK we just had the remains of hurricane Bertha hit our shores for unseasonally windy and wet conditions, completely ruining The Red Dragon’s ultimate frisbee season, and in fact coming out of the cinema after this there were booming, ominous peals of thunder echoing overhead, which, naturally, is just what you want after seeing this. Indeed, Britain has one of the highest numbers of tornadoes in the world relative to its land area – though they’re mostly just totty little rubbish ones that don’t do anything, not withstanding the twister that obliterated parts of Birmingham last decade.
This is actually part of the handheld camera genre, for the most part, but they have made a really good job of it compared to many of their contemporaries, moving things along quickly and without irritating the audience with pointless explanations for cameras and poor viewing quality. The action flits between the professionals, some amateur YouTube daredevils, and a father with his two sons due to film the highschool graduation ceremony until one of them bunks off to help a local girl with her own project – and when you see the girl in question (Alycia Debnam Carey) you will understand why. Overall, the effects are dramatically immersive and the tension feels suitably real, there are no Oscar worthy moments but the ensemble cast (of whom probably Richard Armitage and Matt Walsh are the most recognisable faces) make it seem believable. It kind of feels like a ‘Twister’ reboot, but nonetheless it is good fun and with the technological advances since then it also stands as an improvement on some of those late nineties waymarks that the filmmakers were no doubt inspired by.