Sometimes simple set-ups are the best, and sometimes they don’t live up to the promise. Sadly the latter is true of Storage 24.
An ordinary afternoon turns extraordinary when a plane crashes in the centre of London. Charlie (Noel Clarke) and Mark (Colin O’Donoghue) are on their way to a storage centre, so Charlie can pick up some stuff following a bitter break-up with his girlfriend. When they arrive, the crash has caused issues with the centre’s security, which results in them being trapped inside until the technician can reopen the shutters. Charlie thinks things have gotten about as bad as they can be when he finds his ex and a couple of her friends are already in the storage container, but the plane crash has also left something inside the facility with them – and it’s big, bad, alien and incredibly vicious.
Storage facilities are inherently creepy places, so you’d think setting a monster movie inside one would be a good idea. However, Storage 24 is so undecided about what it is or how to present its thrills that it doesn’t really work. At different points it’s straightforward horror, character drama, sci-fi, and occasionally an almost silly comedy, but never finds a sustained tone, so it’s difficult to get really involved. It doesn’t help either that it only occasionally manages to genuinely get your heart racing.
Part of the issue is the look of the movie, with oddly flat, uniform lighting that rarely gets you wondering what’s in the non-existent shadows. Sometimes keeping the lights on can work for horror, but here it seems a missed opportunity to really play with the creepy possibilities of being trapped with a monster inside the enclosed metal maze of the storage facility. Indeed the look and feel of the film rather reminded me of an episode of Doctor Who that they’d forgotten to include the Doctor in, especially with Noel Clarke running around.
I was wondering when I watched the movie, whether the problem was that the filmmakers weren’t exactly sure what movie they were making, and the special features seem to bear that out. While plenty of work went into creating the effective creature before cameras rolled, the actual shooting of the movie seems to have had a rather suck it and see approach that they hoped would eventually come together. There are some good moments, such as the creature bounding along the corridors of the storage facility, and some of the alien effects and kills are good (even if the whole thing does feel like it’s trying to channel Alien a little too much), but most of it either fails to thrill or is just a bit tedious as a bunch of rather annoying characters deal with relationship drama that it’s tough to care about. And quite frankly, at the point the vicious, voracious, blood and guts spilling alien suddenly stops in its track when a tiny toy dog turns up, I was about ready to give up.
If the cast and crew could have got a do-over with a clearer idea about exactly what they were doing and a stronger sense that a monster movie is more than just its creature (no matter how good the monster effects may be) this really could have been a winner. As it is, Storage 24 never really gets up to full speed and so offers little more than the very occasional horror thrill.
But while the film may be a bit of a disappointment, the special features are excellent. With numerous featurettes, video blogs, commentaries and deleted scenes, there’s loads of stuff included on the disc. It’s all pretty good, with the creature development featurette particularly interesting, not least because of how different the monster looks when it’s not on set – as it’s basically a fairly basic suit, worn by guy wearing stilts, but looks very different onscreen when it’s shot from the right angle and augmented by CGI. The featurette does a good job of making you realise how well the creature is done, which makes it even more of a shame the rest of the film doesn’t live up to it. It’s well worth taking a look through all the features though, which are interesting, humorous and sometimes more fun than the film.
Overall Verdict: Storage 24 is a good creature and effects is search of a movie that makes better use of the potential of the claustrophobic setting. It has its moments, but they’re too few and far between for this to really be considered a success.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac