Sunday, April 21, 2013

STORAGE 24 (Review)

STORAGE 24 (2012)

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Johannes Roberts

Starring Noel Clarke, Colin O'Donoghue, Antonia Campbell-Hughes

From the You May Have Missed It file: Storage 24 is a decent little alien horror film from the UK starring Doctor Who's Noel Clarke that was released on video last month. It may not break any new ground in the world of sci-fi horror, but it's a decent small-budget alien horror flick with enough gore to make up for its formulaic presentation.

When a military cargo plan crashes down in London,  the city goes into lockdown. From the wreckage, something highly classified and highly dangerous has escaped into the city. Totally unaware,  Charlie (Noel Clarke) and his best mate Mark (Coling O'Donoghue) are on their way to get Charlie's stuff out of storage after his girlfriend unceremoniously dumps him. Still hurt over the split, Charlie's emotional wounds are freshly salted when he arrives and finds his ex Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) and her friends (Laura Haddock and Jamie Thomas King) at the same storage to pick up her things. Making matters worse, the plane crash causes the power to go out, which triggers an automatic security system that locks this tense group of ex-lovers and antagonistic friends in the dark maze of the multi-level storage unit. And they're not alone. As they soon find out, the thing that the military is desperately searching for outside is now stalking them inside Storage 24, and it's definitely not of this world.

I really like Noel Clarke. Whether he's playing Mickey on Doctor Who or popping up in UK zombie comedies like Doghouse, he has a dry wit and hapless persona strapped to an affable heroic quality that helps carry a movie. And Storage 24 needs him, that's for sure. Storage 24 isn't a bad movie; it's just very formulaic. Ever since Ridley Scott dropped Alien on the world, the world of sci-fi horror has never been short on movies where killer aliens hunt small groups of humans in dark, enclosed spaces. So, Storage 24 doesn't offer that many surprises, but there are enough witty flourishes, turns of character, and surprising gore moments to keep this alien thriller on its feet. Too bad the relationship conflict at the center of the story loses some of its punch half-way through the film when the characters start to become monster bait.

As a product of Storage 24's independent-scale budget, the creature is predominately CGI-free. The monster is clearly a man in a suit, which adds a nice tactile element to the movie, and director of photography Tim Sidell deserves a lot of credit for hiding the monster's latex flaws in appropriately spooky lighting. Again, it's your standard bug-like alien humanoid that we've seen before, but it works and has its own unique charms. Spruced up with CGI after-effects, the monster is fairly effective and, thankfully, quite horrifically depicted in the manner in which it dispatches its victims. Storage 24 certainly doesn't skimp on the grue. 

I guess what I'm saying is that Storage 24 gets an enthusiastic "ok." If you're in the mood for some predatory alien horror, there are far worse films you could spend your money on. Then again, there are also better. Storage 24 is clearly made by perfectly proficient filmmakers. It's just not very ambitious or fresh.

Storage 24 is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray by Magnet Releasing.

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