'Into the Storm' disaster thriller recreates twister terror

Thu Aug 7, 2014 4:32pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When director Steven Quale began researching tornados for a natural disaster film he turned to YouTube for inspiration from eye witness accounts to convey the real terror and devastation of twisters.

"Into the Storm," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, starts with a seemingly average day in the fictional Midwest town of Silverton that quickly changes when a storm system sweeps through, bringing the strongest tornadoes ever seen, including a monster mile-wide twister.

"People are always drawn to what frightens them. They're fascinated with the power and the destructive energy that tornadoes or hurricanes or any big natural phenomena have," Quale said. "They want to experience that, but they want to experience it in the safety of a movie theater."

Quale showcases much of the film through the eyes of storm chasers to recreate the horrifying destruction a tornado inflicts. Actors worked on set with 100 mile-per-hour (160 km-per-hour) wind machines with debris thrown into them to replicate the chaos of a tornado and gauge real reactions from the cast.

"It is something that feels real, you could be there and it doesn't take you out and suspend disbelief," the director said.

As with many natural disaster films such as 2004's "Day After Tomorrow," there is also an underlying message of real life climate change in "Into the Storm" with subtle references to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

"It's worth investigating and having scientists trying to figure out if there is a connection (to climate change), because if the storms continue, we can't survive these types of natural disasters because they're really taking a toll on the whole planet," Quale said.

The film produced by Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros studios, was made on a budget of about $50 million, and is projected by BoxOffice.com to make $14 million in its U.S. opening weekend.   Continued...

Director Steven Quale attends the 'Into The Storm' premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York, August 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz