Storage 24 REVIEW

Noel Clarke in Storage 24.

"What was this film called again?"

Release Date: 29 June 2012
15 | 87 minutes
Distributor: Universal Picture
Director: Johannes Roberts
Cast:Noel Clarke, Colin O’Donoghue, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Laura Haddock, Ned Dennehy

Who’d have guessed that in the summer where Ridley Scott made his long-overdue return to the Alien-verse, a small budget British flick with a duff name would achieve greater creative success in recapturing some of that series’ core strengths? Set almost entirely in the eponymous warehouse, it’s like an urban Alien – and though it never quite reaches that benchmark, Storage 24 is a prime example of British sci-fi done right.

Written/produced/starring and hyped to the hills by one-time Mickey Smith, Noel Clarke, Storage 24 is a sci-fi thriller with a melting pot of genres in its DNA. Clarke is Charlie – jilted lover of Shelley. After a plane crash in central London plays havoc with the power supply both exes end up trapped in a 24-hour storage shed with a bunch of annoying friends/monster fodder and a towering, bipedal, insect-like killer ET. If only they’d bought a house with a garage…

The film’s greatest achievement is its construction. It’s never quite scary enough to be a horror, nowhere near funny enough to be a comedy and not exciting enough to be an action movie, but stitches all three elements together into a satisfying whole. Shot with a keen eye by Johannes Roberts, it’s tense, exciting and makes incredibly smart use of space. Endless identical corridors feel menacing, never boring. An air vent scene is wince-inducingly claustrophobic and the creature looks superb, rarely shattering the man-in-a-suit illusion despite gratifyingly sparse use of CGI.

If there’s one thing that lets the creature down it’s that, climactic moment of cathartic brutality aside, the kills are curiously underplayed. And as an antagonist the creature is more one-dimensional than a portrait of Paper Mario. From the side. This is symptomatic of the film’s general shortfall of surprises. The dialogue is frequently clunky and the characters unlikeable – all cheaters, complainers or other words beginning with “C”. Only Clarke’s Charlie is worth rooting for, but his hero-arc is too predictable.

Despite this, Storage 24’s successes far outweigh its failings. A summer release means there’s a risk the film will get lost among the tentpole blockbusters, but it’s a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen and, with a brilliant sequel-teasing cliffhanger, one that certainly shouldn’t be kept under lock and key.

Jordan Farley

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