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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.