Rising star Noel Clarke (Kidulthood) and Johannes Roberts ('F') join forces to bring you the ultimate S.F.H. (Science Fiction Horror) movie - is that even a genre? - Storage 24. Set almost entirely in a London storage depot, the film follows recently dumped Charlie (Noel Clarke) and his best mate Mark (Colin O'Donoghue), as they head over to their local storage facilities so that he can collect his belongings. To pour salt on the wounds when they arrive the Ex-girlfriend (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is there along with her friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King), and it doesn't take long before arguments ensue.
A domestic is the least of their problems though, as the lights begin to flicker and strange noises fill the room, distracting them from their Jeremy Kyle like situation; Something is on the loose, and it's picking the people off one by one.
The main problem I had with this movie (and it's only a minor one) is that the Alien is revealed in it's entirety a little too soon - there isn't enough mystery surrounding the reveal of the creature. Having said that, both the special and real effects (Roberts revealed at the Q&A that a lot of what you see of the alien is a guy in a suit as opposed to CGI) are pretty damn good and there are some tense scenes involving the Alien that had a couple of girls on the row behind me screaming for their lives!
The same girls could be heard throughout, wincing “I can't take any more of this, it's too much!” - it's got some nice tense moments, sure, but it's not that scary. Examples like this are a great barometer for a typical audience reaction – you could tell that these girls weren't hardened horror or Sci-Fi fans, they are the people who will see this film on a whim or because Noel Clarke's name is attached. For these particular audience members, Storage 24 will do a grand job of scary the crap out of you!
Written by and starring Noel Clarke, it could easily have turned into a self-indulgent, Tommy Wiseau style affair, but it didn't. Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky at first but the humour throughout is genuine – there are some great laugh out loud moments and considering that 95% of the movie is set in a storage depot (which gives it an eerie spaceship feel) it flows quite nicely. At no point do you find yourself checking the time because it feels like its dragging. One of my best friends happens to work in a storage depot – unfortunately I didn't get to watch the film with her (despite going to see it twice), but I'm keen to see what her reaction is to it.
The movie focuses quite heavily on the characters' backstory and relationships which, while it may seem very obvious and over-saturated, it works quite nicely here. The fact that the biggest audience reaction (both times) was an audible gasp (in horror) at a non-alien related plot twist, says it all.
It's also quite refreshing to see a modern British Horror/ Sci-Fi movie with a cast of solid actors - they all have a relatively natural acting style, going against the archetype of the genre; overacting. But not here, the performances remained understated for the majority of the film, only ramping it up in the final act for when it 'hits the fan' in the final act for extra effect.
The microcosmic script works so well - with almost all of the action taking place inside the storage depot you don't even think about how it will effect the outside world and that's the beauty of it. It is a story that is containable, a necessity when working to a tight budget. In the Q&A, Roberts and Clarke revealed that the film was made for an eighth of Joe Cornish's Attack The Block budget - a fact I think most would need to be told, as it certainly doesn't show. The script, effects, moral underpinning and cast are far superior in Storage 24, and more importantly it is more original - I'm sick of seeing these council estate horror films (Cherry Tree Lane, Attack The Block, Outcast), it's been done and we're over it now.
Overall a pretty awesome movie. Half a star deducted for the last 30 seconds of the film - it may have been a budgetary decision or perhaps an attempt to pave the way for a sequel, either way it 'jumps the shark' and the film would have been better without it. Half a star added purely for the plot device involving a battery operated toy dog, which was a pure stroke of genius!