Documentary filmmaking is a notoriously thankless job– give up years of your life on a film, wonder if anyone will ever see it, and get paid poorly for it. But if you believe what you see in Funnel of Darkness if your documentary film happens to be a tornado, you’ll have one hell of a time while you chase it.
IFC paired with Dailymotion, who bought a five day exclusive run of the series, before it was available to IFC August 1st. In a faux reality move, the scripted comedy web series cast a group of good looking guys with a nice background combination of filmmaking and near death experience between them. Keith Cecere as Keith Severe is the group’s bearded and fearless leader who has spent some of his real life as tech director for Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers.
Cecere’s commitment to the ridiculous and genuine experience chasing storms definitely helps anchor the show, even more so than the driving plot line of a tornado shooting competition where the winner walks away with a cash prize. It’s Cecere’s enthusiasm when he says things like “of 30 monkeys, we are 13 of the surviving monkeys,” while the wind of a coming tornado blows through his hair, that gives one pause to wonder if the guy grew a long hair and beard for that very reason.
It’s also unique to see a show focused on a cinematographer. Getting the perspective of a guy focused on images instead of his image is certainly refreshing. That said, when the guys aren’t chasing storms, they’re chasing women, and unfortunately they’re chasing boring women in the bar. Undoubtedly the strongest part of the show is watching the guys deal with living in a small RV named “Big Brains” and surviving in the many, many dull moments between storms. Well, that and when the Severe Team freaks out over funnel clouds.