London is in chaos. A military cargo plane has crashed leaving its highly classified contents strewn across the city. Completely unaware London is in lockdown, Charlie and Shelley, accompanied by best friends Mark and Nikki, are at a Storage 24 dividing up their possessions after a recent break-up. Suddenly, the power goes off. Trapped in a dark maze of endless corridors, a mystery predator is hunting them one by one. In a place designed to keep things in, how do you get out?
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
. Starring: Noel Clarke
, Colin O'Donoghue
, Antonia Campbell-Hughes
, Laura Haddock
, Jamie Thomas King
, Alex Price
, Ned Dennehy
, Geoff Bell
, Ruth Gemmell
, Davie Fairbanks
, Amy Pemberton
, Robert Freeman
, John Hasler
. Music by: Christian Henson
Okay, so we have a Brit flick in the 'alien sci-fi' sub genre, a huge departure from the usual independent fare we get to see from the little Island, and economically just about scraping the barrel of low budget independent at the £1.5m budget that is widely attributed to the film, primarily by (he described it as 110 of the budget of Attack the Block @ $13m) writerproducer Noel Clarke.
In no uncertain terms it draws heavily upon the genre's benchmarks of creativity (Alien, Mimic, Independence Day - all landmark films for their own reasons) and drops them into the most claustrophobic, visually uninteresting, and echoing environment they could come up with. Whilst a storage facility is not the most entertaining of settings in which to base any movie, let alone an alien led sci-fi movie, the filmmakers didn't allow themselves to be hamstrung by such a location, instead drawing on set-pieces from their favourite movies - crawling through the vent shafts (Alien), the pursuits down corridors (er...Alien), and the final confrontation between the lead character and the creature (yep you guessed it.....Alien). What is clear is that since 1979, no matter how 'inventive' the filmmaker, or imaginative the screenwriter, creatives the world over have struggled to throw off the shackles of a film that will go down in history as the greatest sci-fi horror of all time. No! Not Storage 24 funnily enough.
And to that end all Storage 24 can do is offer up a little bit of familiarity in a script that has too little in its legs to carry it over the feature threshold, dialogue that gets strained and repetitive very early on, and a tired, almost contrived presentation of character from the majority of actors that you can't help but wonder if it was all actually worth the effort. I like Noel Clarke as an actor - he's not up there in Johnny Depp territory but he's affable and presentable and has a bit of an idea.
Sadly same can't be said for his colleagues in this, particularly Ms Campbell-Hughes whose 'sucked ps off a nettle' expression all the way through got very tiresome. Haddock provided some eye candy relief but frankly she'd be much better if given a bigger, or more daring role that stretched her emotional range. But it was the appearance, albeit brief, of the reliable Ned Dennehy, that brought some comic relief and acting gravitas to what would otherwise have been a very bland affair in the acting stakes.
The main objection for me in this film was that it procrastinated over whether to go the whole hog, balls to the wall horror, or to stay firmly in the "scare 'em, chase 'em, make 'em chuckle" parody of what horror is supposed to all be about. It decided on neither. The moments of levity were all generated by character and not situation which is what you expect in parody. and apart from the odd gross out moment of gore there was just not enough scare, violence, blood, or suspense to justify this as a horror film. There are pre-requisites to hit mainstream with any horror (big scares, blood, gore, nudity, sex, and containment). For decades these general observations coupled with great scripts and masterful acting, have decided the difference between the good and the bad. But you can't have a few. It's either all or nothing. Make the deaths more gruesome, make the chase truly reflective of the urgency without breaking off into repetitive dialogue that draws away from the sweaty palmed sense of encroaching doom, if you're going to have secret lovers in a lock up (regardless of how likely it would be) lets have some flesh on show, get fumbling with the stickies until you really cant go any further without bumping uglies. And as for Laura Haddock in the toilet - a great opportunity to tease the audience with a little more 'knicker' shots or partial flesh exposure. But above all - time the damned reveal of the creature. Horror exists on the slow reveal of the antagonist in stages, bit by creepy bit - not all in one go. If you are to take ANYTHING from the classic 'Alien' take that. Horror movies that last are those which understand the importance of their component parts.
So in summary, Storage 24 is an entertaining little flick that aspired to be greater than the level of its ultimate achievement. Competently shot, with moments of real suspense but overall a bit of a damp squib. The creature design is nice, not in the Woodruff Jr ballpark but pretty damned good nonetheless. It's just a shame it wasn't utilised properly according to the genre's requirements.
Review by David Starr from the Internet Movie Database.