I love it when my instincts are right!! I’ve been following STORAGE 24 for a few months now and even before I saw the trailer and some clips, I was excited for this one. The more I saw, the more my hopes increased. I got many comments on my Twitter account (@anythinghorror) from people who thought this one looked “lame” and “done to death.” Now granted STORAGE 24 isn’t going to redefine the genre, and that’s not what it sets out to do. STORAGE 24 takes a familiar set up and manages to inject some new life into it with a great cast, great tension, an interesting looking alien, and some satisfying horror scenes.
STORAGE 24 starts out, quite literally, with a bang — there’s a large, building-shaking explosion in downtown London. Some think London’s having an earthquake while others believe their fair city is under a terrorist attack. As people start gathering in the streets they see that something exploded in the sky and the debris now litters the streets of London. It looks to be some kind of military plane, but the main cargo hold looks like it’d give Fort Knox a run for it’s money. Soon after the crash/explosion the military hustles in, completely shuts down and quarantines London, and starts an aggressive clean up program. This is pretty much all we see of the “outside” world. The rest of the movie takes place in the titular storage facility as we join a group of people who get locked up in Storage 24 after the city’s power is shut down.
This is where STORAGE 24 was either going to succeed or utterly bomb. If writers Noel Clarke, Davie Fairbanks, and Marc Small simply gave us the typical characters and typical dynamic inside the storage facility I would’ve turned this off after my first yawn. But we get something rather strange, unique, and very welcomed … interesting characters!! Characters who are well-written with real problems, and characters whose inter-tensions stem from those very real problems. The main conflict comes between Charlie (Noel Clarke) and Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Huges). Shelley just recently dumped Charlie and he’s taking it pretty hard. His best friend, Mark (Colin O’Donoghue) is trying to help Charlie past this, but Charlie just won’t let go. Shelley is at the storage unit to get some of her stuff back and Charlie decides to head over and see if he can talk her back into his life. Lots of tension here, folks. The two actors do a great job with the awkward post-relationship interaction. Two of Shelley’s friends, Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King), are there to help her gather up her stuff and only add to the tension. Right after Charlie and Mark show up, the facility loses power and they’re all locked inside by the huge electronic security gates.
The two groups plan on staying out of each other’s ways until the power comes back on, but there’s something else in the storage facility. Remember that military crash/explosion? Well it seems the military was transporting some special cargo … live cargo that’s not from this earth. After STORAGE 24 got going (which was pretty much right from the beginning), I couldn’t help but think that this was what that shitty, overrated, melodramatic SUPER 8 should have been!! Now our group is being hunted down one by one and they all need to come together in order to stay alive. There’s also one more tense relationship that develops, but I won’t give that one away (no spoilers here). But I really liked how the writers kept focused and didn’t turn this into a “Charlie fighting to win back Shelley” love story.
We get lots of tense horror action and director Johannes Roberts doesn’t skimp at all on the blood and gore. It’s not excessive (which would’ve been really fun), but there was enough to keep me satisfied. And the alien, I thought, looked pretty damn good. The design isn’t genre-changing, but it’s a solid looking alien with some ferocious attributes. I also like the nods Roberts and the writers give to other films in this genre. There’s a scene with some characters crawling through some pipes that is a conscious nod to Bishop in ALIENS that was well done.
After the group realizes what they’re up against they decide to arm themselves to find some weapons. This is when they run into David (Ned Dennehy), an older guy who’s been living in the storage facility in order to hide from his vindictive ex-wife. David serves as the ‘resident expert’ who knows all the ins and outs of the facility. Yes, David is a convenient character, but he’s also fun and provides some much needed comic relief.
At the end of the day STORAGE 24 feels familiar. It’s a similar set-up to countless other films that we’ve all seen. But strong acting, well-written characters, nicely developed tension and atmosphere, and a satisfying creature and gore f/x make this one stand out from the crowd. And just wait until you see the very unexpected ending!! STORAGE 24 is like sleeping with your girlfriend’s younger sister — it’s sort of familiar, but there’s a whole lot of new stuff to have fun with. Don’t miss this one.
Director: Johannes Roberts
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 6 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer