Posted April 16, 2012 by Chris Patmore in Films
 
 

Storage 24


In the world of science-fiction/fantasy/horror

In the world of science-fiction/fantasy/horror, Britain has
always been at the forefront, whether it is literature, television or cinema.
We have produced innovators from the earliest days up until the
present and yet, at the moment, we don’t seem to be capable of producing
anything locally that can be called truly British. Any successful genre cinema
that does come out of this country seems to be made with Hollywood money,
although it invariably utilises local talent as we have some of the best in the
world.

Noel Clarke, best known for his role in Doctor Who and urban dramas such as Kidulthood, seems to be trying
singlehandedly to revive British indie cinema through a variety of genres. His
latest outing as writer/producer/actor is Storage
24
, in which he returns to sci-fi with B-movie horror credentials. Still
with a London setting this initially appears to be more urbane than urban, as
the slightly put-upon Charlie (Clarke) has just split up with his girlfriend
and, while heading off to the local storage facility to divide up their goods,
a plane crashes and causes more than the usual chaos around London. With
systems on the fritz, Charlie and his best friend Mark end up being locked in
the storage complex along with his ex, her disposable friends and sundry other
disposable victi…sorry, characters. Before long people start disappearing and
turning up a lot worse for wear (and that isn’t a euphemism for drunk). The
film soon becomes a battle for survival against what is clearly some sort of
alien monster.

Although this film is unlikely to win
any awards for originality it does manage to incorporate all the necessary
horror tropes without falling into cliche. However, the overuse of close-ups
and shallow depth-of-field that director Johannes
Roberts
employs to imbue a sense of claustrophobia is fast becoming a
visual cliche thanks to hundreds of people using DSLRs to make their low-budget
movies. Generally, the characters are believable and are a lot more convincing
than those in the comparable Attack the
Block
, whose characters were as much for comic effect than anything else.
That’s not to say that Storage 24 lacks humour, it’s just aimed at a slightly
older (twenty-something) audience.

Some people will be quick to find
fault with this film – and it is not perfect – but the multi-million dollar Prometheus also has its fair share of
script problems and that is from one of the most highly-respected filmmakers in
the world today. It is far easier to forgive failings in a movie made for a
fraction of that budget (and even, reportedly, of Attack the Block) and one
that makes no pretence to be anything other than a single-location movie with a
rubber-suit monster. In fact, Clarke said they had to change the ending of the
movie to the existing one (which is still pretty spectacular) because they didn’t
have enough budget for the extras and their costumes in the original finale.

Despite some of its obvious
weaknesses, it is not a bad movie and far more watchable than similar films
coming out of the US, such as Alien Vs Predator
(2007), and eminently more entertaining than the bulk of the so-called
“quality” British dramas that attract funding every year and barely
draw an audience. If we want to see better original British sci-fi films then
we need to support films like this one and show the studios and distributors
that there is a market for them out there and they will get a return on their
investment, otherwise they will continue to fund and make movies that no one
wants to see instead of the ones we do.


Chris Patmore