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Supercell (12) |Close Up Film Review

Dir. Herbert James Winterstern, US, 101 mins, 2023

Cast: Skeet Ulrich, Anne Heche, Daniel Diemer, Jordan Kristine Seamón, Alec Baldwin

Review by Michelle Moore

You would most likely remember the 1996 Blockbuster Twister, or maybe recall 2014’s Into the Storm. If you are a sucker for meteorology, then Supercell is one to look out for.

Based on a screenplay that Director Herbert James Winterstern wrote alongside Anna Elizabeth James, this directorial debut follows the tale a boy looking to find a connection with his late father, and storm chasing is the way about it.

Following in the footsteps of his father who passed 10 years previously, teenage William Brody (Diemer) runs off to storm chase with his father’s ex-partner Roy Cameron (Ulrich), against the wishes of his mother (Heche), who gave up the chase after losing her husband, and legendary storm chaser to a bad call on the road. They say it is the thrill of the chase and in this case, it was his last chase. Since his father’s death at the hands of a storm when he was young, the family business is now in the hands of an irresponsible chaser, Zane Rogers (Baldwin) who is only in the chase for the money and fame and not the scientific elements like his chaser buddy Roy.

When Twister was released back in 1996 (can it really be 27 years ago!), it not only made the world more aware of how damaging tornadoes can be and how the scientific world is trying to find out more about them but it paved the way for other movies to be created based on meteorology. We have seen several straight to video (as it was back in the day), DVD or download ones but only one or two have made it to the big screen, with the most recent being Into the Storm.

None however have ever lived up to the excitement, edgy and enthralling atmosphere that Twister created; this movie included. The visuals are beautifully put together with wide angle shots, scenes of heavy rain, large hail and the sky all shades of colours. One of the movie’s more breath-taking and impressive scenes is where Brody and Roy just sit back and watch the sky be taken over by an array of lightning strikes. At times however, the scenes do beg to be believed, for example when a phone booth becomes salvation from the storm. When the world around you is literally being blown away, can one really rely on a phone booth to outstand 100 mile an hour wind? It is the last 10 minutes of the movie that really shine.

Just like Twister and Into the Storm, this movie concludes with a chase scene, though not nearly as impressive, suspense filled or nerve racking in this instance. You will be asking yourself will they survive being hunted by a tornado or will they be outrun? There is a small nod to the late Twister actor Bill Paxton that you may blink and miss as William does a quick Internet search for information on his father; which was truly heartfelt. There are several well-known names making an appearance in the movie. Alec Baldwin, plays a money-making opportunist who would put anyone in danger, including thrill-seeking tourists and himself just to make a quick buck. His character is selfish and dull though pulls through at the end.

The character played by Scream’s Skeet Ulrich tries to share his experiences of storm chasing with Will with the wrath of a grief-stricken mother (Quinn) hot on his heels played by the late Anne Heche, who gives one of her last performances in this movie as a mother on a mission to save her son from storm chasing as she was unable to save her husband.

As Quinn (Anne) states in one scene, “we chased for knowledge, not thrill.” In this instance it would have been great to hear a little more of the knowledge and language used by the storm chasers that travel the plains of the USA.

This movie’s narrative was more about the journey of a son trying to connect with his late father against his mother’s wishes than the storm chasing itself; teen romance thrown in for good measure. Although not one of the more exciting storm chasing movies, Supercell is certainly a movie to look out for with its enjoyable on screen cast and beautiful scenery.