Sunday, July 14, 2013

Horror Film Review

Storage 24 (2012):  Creature feature from the U.K. starring Noel Clarke from Doctor Who (Mickey, companion to the ninth and tenth doctors) and Doghouse.  There is some sci-fi involved here as well, but the horror/sci-fi ratio is around 80/20.  To be honest, given what we see in the very last scene of the movie, I fully expected to see the TARDIS materialize and the Doctor to jump out, sonic screwdriver in hand, ready to save the world yet again.  Yeah.  If only.

Dumped by girlfriend Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), Charlie (Clarke) and his best friend Mark (Colin O'Donoghue) are driving to a storage unit to collect his things when a huge military plane crashes in London.  Its cargo included a large container that lands near the storage facility.  The fall, of course, broke it open.  Inside, Charlie and Mark run into Shelley and her friends Chris (Jamie Thomas King) and Nikki (Laura Haddock) who are there to collect Shelley's things.  There's drama.  Charlie's whining and being a dick, Chris is a bit of a douche, Nikki and Mark play referees, and Shelley just wants it to be over.  Turns out, Charlie was dumped because Shelley and Mark have been seeing each other on the sly.  Bored yet?  God, I was.  During this soap opera crap, the power keeps going in and out, and storage manager Jake (Alex Price) and a repair man are trying to fix the automatic security door that's locked everyone in.  In the basement, repair guy runs into whatever was in that container.  Jake finds the body, freaks out, and then finally, we're off to the races.  Running and screaming and hiding and dying.  They encounter a weirdo (Ned Dennehy) who's living at the storage unit and everyone scrambles to his place to regroup.  The plan is to sneak into other units, search for weapons, and then make their way back to the lobby to figure out how to get the security gate open.  Of the eight people in the facility, three make it out alive.  Not bad, considering. 

The creature is eerily similar to the predator in, well, Predator.  Big hook, fang-things that spread apart when the mouth opens.  The biggest difference is that it's obviously part insect...buggy eyes and the backward knees.  Overall, it's an effective bad guy, although I didn't understand its motivation.  Something to do with human hearts.  One massively unbelievable aspect of this film is this:  A jumbo jet just crashed into the heart of London and these people shrug and wallow in ridiculous drama.  I can suspend my disbelief with the best of them, but not in this case.  What was realistic was not finding guns on their weapons search.  A knife, a crowbar, and some fireworks.  That's it.  There is humor in this film, not a lot, but enough.  The scene with the toy dog is pretty funny.  Think of a mouse and an elephant.  Cute.


Acting:  They're all pros and know what they're doing.  My favorites are bit players Price and Dennehy. 
Story:  It's like an episode of Storage Wars gone horribly, horribly wrong.  I can't think of another movie remotely similar, which is groovy.  Clarke, by the way, co-wrote.
Direction:  I can't really explain it, but I didn't feel as claustrophobic as I should have.  And the tension isn't consistent. 
Production Values:  No budget details, but it's not a cheapie.  On film, quality sound/lighting, and seemingly shot (at least partially) at a real storage facility. 
Gore/FX:  There is some nastiness, no doubt about it.  The creature enjoys munching faces off.  The repairman is torn in half (we don't see it happen, just the result).  The creature is part CGI, part real.  The CGI is surprisingly good.  The plane crash is lame, mostly because they don't show it.  Just smoke.  The very last scene I mentioned earlier is a wide shot of London and primarily CGI.  There's a reason it's CGI and there's a reason I immediately thought of the Doctor. 
Scares:  There's a storage unit full of mannequin heads.  Mannequin heads!
Ending:  I was thrilled and impressed at the happy/not-so-happy ending regarding Charlie and Shelley.  As for the very last scene with London; it's kind of a "...the hell?" moment.
Verdict:  Should you see Storage 24?  Sure.  It's harmless enough as long as you're not expecting high art...or a whole lot of common sense.

Rating:  3 out of 5

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