Trapped but not alone!
Trapped in a storage facility as a downed aircraft sends London in chaos, a recently separated couple and their friends soon find out that they are not alone.Storage 24 has the horror set up down – a limited location, a small cast neatly split into heroes and monster fodder and a creepy creature with some serious anger issues. And yet, the film itself is a curious beast, unsure of exactly what subgenre it wants to belong to.
Partly, that’s down to the script which seems intent on playing it serious for much of the running time – throwing its characters into peril and bringing up issues of dramatic and emotional weight. But then, quite randomly, lead Noel Clarke will throw out a non sequitur that could have been teleported from an 80s action flick. Attempts at comedy frequently pepper the dialogue but they aren’t effective enough to lighten the mood.
The casting is erratic too. Clarke is decent as always and Laura Haddock makes for some aesthetically pleasing support but the rest mostly misfires. Antonia Campbell-Hughes is especially dire – as Clarke’s ex, she’s got the most emotional weight to bear in the film but her monotone delivery is utterly lifeless. Irish bloke Colin O’Donoghue (who did decent work in The Rite) looks well on screen but isn’t served well by comedy while countryman Ned Dennehy gets nothing to work with but vague paranoia.
And then there’s the monster. At least some effort went into the design, which looks a bit like the result of an intimate moment between a beetle and a necromorph. Storage 24 chooses to show off their creation early on and it’s all brought to life with a decent integration of CG and prosthetics. Wide shots lack the fluidity, ie: the frame rate, of blockbuster productions but it doesn’t look half bad. The bigger issue is that we never get any sense of agenda beyond mindless menace and the creatures appearances are metronomic – turning up every time there’s a dip in action.
The structure in general is mindlessly repetitive, filled with cheap scares fuelled by loud noises. Much of the running time is concerned with watching walls being hit from the other side – a tired horror cliché that doesn’t get any fresher here. Characters are picked off at carefully timed intervals, while everyone runs around accomplishing little but lingering where they’re likely to get their face bitten off.
Director Johannes Roberts brought hoodie horror F to screens last year – another underwhelming genre piece. He doesn’t feel like he’s stretching himself here – though the film does indulge in more violence than audiences might be used to. Bodies are pretty effectively pulverised, heads smashed and jaws torn away, likely in homage to F. In fact, Storage 24 was trimmed in several scenes to grab a 15s rating in the UK, and we inherit that version in local theatres.Storage 24 is far from appalling, the technical credits are decent and there are a few good kills but it feels like a missed opportunity for a British creature feature with an above average budget. What really kills it is a lack of tension borne out of a lazy structure of chases and scares and the films inability to commit to serious horror or one-liner gore fest. And don’t get me started on how much the ending wants to be like a John Carpenter film.