Into the Storm

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Into the Storm Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Disaster pic has intense storm sequences but so-so plot.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The overwhelming message is that storms can turn from severe to lethal, and people should always evacuate when asked to seek shelter. But if your family or people you love are missing, you must also do everything in your power to get them to safety. Also, as the movie makes clear, pretending to be a storm chaser when you have no credentials is a bad decision.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gary is always looking out for others; whether it's his students or his sons, he won't stop until he's protected those he cares about and loves. Some characters make selfish and dangerous decisions (like Reevis and Donk, who are just trying to shoot YouTube videos), while others are genuinely committed to helping track storms but not at all costs, like Allison. Pete redeems his early greedy behavior by sacrificing his safety to save others, and Donnie does his best to keep Kaitlyn calm during terrifying circumstances. Trey and Donnie are loving brothers to each other. 


The tornado scenes can be really intense, with large-scale destruction to the town of Silverton and many people killed, including a couple of major characters. People are sucked into the vortices despite desperate attempts to stay attached to something on the ground. One particularly horrific scene shows a man being sucked into a fiery vortex screaming and pleading. Another man is shown in a vehicle as it's sucked up into the air and then comes slamming down, instantly killing him. Other characters nearly drown, have to be revived, and are injured during the storms.


Not much actual romance beyond the opening scene, when a teen couple is shown making out in the backseat of a car. Otherwise, limited to holding hands, mid-peril embraces, and a chaste kiss. But there are verbal references to desire and sex, like a teenager saying that in 25 years he hopes to have a "smokin' hot" wife he can "bang," or a sophomore taking photos of a "hot" teacher with a great "rack" and lots of cleavage, or a high schooler asking his brother to "get some skin on camera" when he's with a pretty girl.


Most scenes include strong language, particularly the exclamation "s--t" and its derivatives ("bats--t," "bulls--t," "s--tless," "oh s--t," "holy s--t," "chickens--t," and more), as well as occasional use of other words, like "d--k," "jackass," "ass," and "goddamn."


Lots of recognizable brands are featured fairly prominently, especially electronics and cars: Nikon, Apple (iPhone, MacBook, desktop), Dell, Skype, GMC, Coors beer, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two supporting adult characters and their friends drink a lot of beer in the movie and are often drunk or on their way to drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Into the Storm is an extremely intense natural disaster film about how a group of storm chasers and a high-school assistant principal and his two teenage sons handle a deadly series of tornadoes that hits an Oklahoma town. The storm sequences are violent and deadly; each one leaves more devastation to buildings and people. Characters die, sometimes horrifically, during the storms, especially those who are swept up into a tornado vortex. The body count includes a few prominent characters, and everyone is in life-threatening peril. Language, which includes "s--t" and its many derivatives, is used in nearly every scene once the storms start hitting the town. There are also some references to sex and banging and hot women, but only a couple of actual kisses, one at the beginning and one at the end. Disaster movies can frighten some younger viewers even more than monsters or aliens or paranormal horror, so make sure you know whether your tween or teen can handle realistic depictions of weather catastrophes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarvelDAD May 7, 2021
Adult Written byRaritysfans August 27, 2020

Be blown away

Time passes and as summer ends it is hurricane and tornado season, as 2014 was a real life natural disaster for Blockbuster cinema with flop after flop. Disaste... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTheplace1 April 22, 2020
Kid, 11 years old May 2, 2021

Good movie

If your daughter has watched 2012 or the day after tomorrow it should be fine just look away at a making out scene in the beginning

What's the story?

INTO THE STORM is a disaster film about filming disasters. Documentarian Pete (Matt Walsh) leads a five-person storm chasing unit: He drives a reinforced "Titus" tank that should withstand 170 mile-per-hour wind gusts, while meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) rides in a van with all of her satellite equipment. Desperate to get footage from right inside a storm, Pete pushes Allison to predict where the next tornado will hit, and she suggests heading to Silverton, Oklahoma. There, high-school junior Donnie (Max Deacon) is filming time capsule footage with his younger brother, Trey (Nathan Kress), as an end-of-the-year project for his emotionally distant dad, Gary (Richard Armitage), the school's assistant principal. When Donnie's long-time crush, Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey), needs help shooting a video internship application, he sneaks off with her to an old mill at exactly the same time as the first tornado heads to the school. After the first storm, Allison and Pete are astounded to see multiple additional tornadoes headed toward town, while Gary and Trey attempt to find and rescue Donnie and Kaitlyn, who are trapped underneath debris. As the storms keep coming, the storm chasers have to decide between profitable footage and possibly their lives.

Is it any good?

Audiences looking for the most jump-worthy storm sequences since Twister are in for some killer, genuinely gasp-worthy moments with Into the Storm. Because there are multiple tornadoes, there are plenty of harrowing, catastrophic scenes of the twisters touching down, plowing through neighborhoods, and sucking up everything from cars and planes to people (of course). Distracting from all the devastation is comic relief provided by two drunk yokels who think that if they follow the actual storm chasers around recording the storms with their phones, they'll score instant YouTube celebrity. It's not so funny when characters start getting killed, but these disaster movies apparently need all the laughs they can get -- like a throwaway one-liner about the aftermath looking like a zombie apocalypse, a wink-wink joke directed at Callies' devoted Walking Dead fans.

There's not much of a plot here beyond "storm chasers head to a town suffering from a day of awful back-to-back storm systems," but at least the performances are all up to the task. Armitage, best known as the severe dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy, is possibly the fittest high-school assistant principal ever and a believably righteous dad who will stop at nothing to save his sons; Callies is the level-headed foil to Walsh's greedy filmmaker, who seems to care more about tornado footage than possible casualties, and the young actors do their best to seize the moment, however doomed it might be for everyone else. Some laughable plot details might be hard for adults to overlook, but once the storms hit, you'll be too busy oohing and ahhing (or closing your eyes) to care.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the type of violence in a natural disaster movie versus that in war or sci-fi/superhero action movies. Are deaths and devastation scarier when they're caused by weather phenomena than by humans, aliens, or superheroes? 

  • There's a lot of language in Into the Storm, but people are in life or death situations; does that make the language more believable or excusable, or is it unnecessary?

  • What makes for a good disaster film? How does this movie compare to similar movies?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate