Film Review: Storage 24
Storage 24 is director Johannes Roberts’ first foray into sci-fi after concentrating mostly on horror. Compared with both Attack the Block for its urban setting and also described (over-ambitiously) as an ‘inner-city Alien’, the film is set almost entirely within a storage warehouse and follows lead character Charlie (Noel Clarke) as he heads with his best friend to the unit to confront his ex-girlfriend Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) over their recent break up. Unbeknown to Charlie and his friend Mark (Colin O’Donoghue) or Shelley and her two friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie King), just before they arrived a military cargo plane crashes in the centre of London, and a piece of its cargo fell into the storage facility which unleashed a terrifying alien creature into the warehouse. Locked within the storage facility, various emotional issues come to a head within the group whilst the alien stalks its future prey until no one knows if they will ever get out alive.
Noel Clarke plays the part of dull, down-trodden Charlie brilliantly, and it soon becomes clear why Shelley seemingly became bored with him, but the audience can still sympathise with him at a certain emotional revelation (which won’t be revealed here, although audiences will probably see this coming for a while). He is perhaps the only character the audience is likely to feel any warmth towards; the other main characters are, on the whole, unlikeable. Along with Ian Holm as the brilliantly eccentric and crazy Ash, Clarke shines through amongst the decidedly mediocre efforts from Campbell-Hughes, Haddock and King, although the awkwardness which would realistically be central in a situation such as this does come across really well throughout the film.
At times the development of the characters does seem a bit overdone, although it is executed well. It perhaps could have been cut down a little to lead more swiftly to the action. Although Charlie and Shelley’s break up is the catalyst for the characters being at the storage container at that time, the extensive dialogue between them on their feelings about the break up seems a bit drawn out, though this may be opposed by those who enjoy the character development.
The CGI work which created the alien is impressive, especially on a relatively small budget. Created using a blend of CGI and a man in an alien suit, it isn’t confined to the shadows in vague low lighting but thrust straight in front of the camera so that the audience can appreciate every part of the visually-impressive alien. The low camera angles which show the protagonists running forward with the alien scurrying along the ceiling behind them shows the monster at its most creepy and animal-like. The setting of the storage facility and its confinement adds to the tense, claustrophobic feeling whilst the atmospheric soundtrack, composed by Christian Henson, fits in perfectly with the overall tone of the film. The half a dozen or so jumpy parts may at times seem a little obvious but there is certainly an unsettling, tense feeling throughout the film which often leaves you on the edge of your seat.
References to other sci-fi films only enhance the enjoyment of the film. Examples of intertextuality includes the use of fireworks to attack the alien which is reminiscent of Attack the Block, whilst the scene where the alien holds Shelley up by the neck is clearly a reference to a similar scene in Alien involving Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley.
Along with co-writers Davie Fairbanks and the multi-talented Noel Clarke, Roberts has blended sci-fi with horror to create a British flick of a high standard with a darkly humorous undertone. It is surprisingly engrossing, very entertaining and well worth a watch.