By Steve Lillie – Storage 24 is a British horror film from Noel Clarke
By – Steve Lillie
24 is a British horror film from Noel Clarke – known to most fans as Mickey from Dr Who. And, as might be expected from
an actor who loves his sci-fi, it’s a film which oozes genre geekyness, offering up cheeky nods to some of the big names
in the genre – most notably Alien.
Some scenes are replicated almost frame for frame. But is Storage 24 really
just an Alien wannabe or is there more to it than meets the eye? Not really.
Clarke’s film does indeed have big ideas and
what it achieves with an indie budget is impressive. However, by constantly
referencing films like Alien, Storage 24 only succeeds in looking poor by
comparison. Alien, after all, was possibly the best monster film to date and
although Storage 24 would love to be ‘Alien in a warehouse’ it lacks the
shocks, the thrills and the indefinable ‘something’ which turns a simple idea
into a winning formula.
The film starts promisingly enough as a military
transport plane crashes dropping a mysterious box and it’s equally mysterious
contents on the warehouse. And it’s there that the cast gather, for various
tedious reasons, to be trapped and hunted by the beast.
In a good monster movie, only the briefest
character sketches are needed to get audiences hooked. The short breakfast
scene in Alien, where the crew banter naturally around the table for a couple
of minutes, gives us all the insight into the gathered personalities that we
need before the slaughter begins. Unfortunately, in Storage 24, ‘character
development’ too often takes precedence over monster action. The characters
seem to take quite a while to realise they are in a life or death situation,
despite their numbers being whittled away. Which means they have plenty of time
to work on their relationship problems. Luckily each death means one less
person to listen to whine on about their boy/girlfriend problems. Most of the
characters are easy to dislike, too, so it’s at least satisfying to watch them
being culled by the monster as it works its way up the cast list in order of
Monster films rely on the monster to engage
their audience. If you don’t have a good monster, you don’t have a good monster
film. So what about Storage 24’s monster? Well, it’s not quite Alien and not
quiet Predator, and not quiet scary.
Without spoiling the end, there is a revelation
about the monster’s origin that could have been much more fun to develop. There
is a good scene too, in which a yapping toy dog distracts the monster and more
of this type of alien and outré behaviour could have made all the difference.
The difference between a fair to middling monster movie and something all
together more interesting.