Storage 24

An ambitious, but ultimately disappointing British sci-fi horror from the mind of Noel Clarke.

Storage 24

An admirable spirit and ambition underline this otherwise disappointing monster movie from writer/producer Noel Clarke, which sadly can’t get past its own originality enough to be the shot in the arm for UK film it clearly strives to be.

Making use of a pleasingly claustrophobic location – a 24 hour storage lockup – we are introduced to several rather clichéd characters, including Charlie (Clarke), a natural born complainer constantly bemoaning his own bad luck, and his breakup with Shelley (Antonia Campbell Hughes). Best friend Mark (Colin O’ Donahue) accompanies him to the lockup to help split their belongings, only to encounter Shelley and her friends. As luck would have it, a military cargo plane has recently crashed in the area, and a savage creature is on the loose in the warren-like building.

What follows is essentially a loose mash-up of a great many similar creature features over the years. The really disappointing thing about Storage 24 is that it is in its own right a decently put together horror flick, with some effective scares, nasty gory moments and a great setting, but the whole thing just feels derivative. Shots are lifted from Alien, Aliens and Jaws to ensure that the film treads the line between homage and rip-off, and too often slips into the latter.

The creature design is certainly a high point, and although it may not be the most original monster we’ve ever seen, it is clearly the result of a great creative effort. The amount of practical effects are a bonus, giving the villain a heavy, physical presence, as opposed to the cheap-looking CGI that many would expect.

The cast are generally fine, with a pretty undemanding script mostly asking them to creep around in the dark looking scared, but the screenplay itself is irritatingly transparent. Characters are introduced for no reason other than to further the plot another step, then killed off as you can almost see the notes in the margin reading “no longer necessary”. Aside from the soap-opera dramatics, we do find it difficult to really warm to any of the characters, resulting in a tension gained from awaiting the next big jump, rather than any sort of investment in the people on screen.

Where Storage 24 certainly works is as a horror film – Johannes Roberts, coming off the back of hoodie horror F, is a clear talent in genre filmmaking, with his knowledge and passion for shock and suspense throwing up the best moments. Certainly, when the film is in full flow it is an enjoyable frightener, but it is in the moments of downtime that it is sadly let down.

A slickly made, if disappointingly written sci-fi horror, Storage 24 tries so hard not to come off as an Alien rip-off, but sadly becomes just that as the film progresses. Add on an annoying ending that makes a stab at sequel-baiting, and the film does run out of the goodwill built up by Roberts’ good work and some great creature design. It is certainly refreshing to see a British film attempt to play the better financed American industry at its own game, but Storage 24 is sadly not the film it aims to be.