Dir. Johannes Roberts, UK, 2012, 86 mins 59s
Cast: Noel Clarke, Antonia Campbell Hughes, Laura Haddock, Colin O’Donoghue, Alex Price
Review by Dan Collacott
Writer/actor Noel Clarke recently stated at a panel at Kapow that the reputation he garnered through gritty, urban films such as Kidulthood and 126.96.36.199 has afforded him the right to make films that he wants to make. Sci-fi horror, Storage 24 sees him swap hoodies for aliens and gang roles for that of a geeky loser, desperate to win back his ex-girlfriend. Charlie (Clarke) and best friend Mark (Colin O’Donoghue) go to a storage lock up, to pick up some of his and his exes household belongings. They arrive shortly after a military cargo plane has hit the storage site and its alien cargo set free. But worse of all, they run into Charlie’s ex (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) and two of her friends. The awkward clash of personalities is amplified by the fact a security lockdown triggered by the crash has trapped everyone inside the facility. Amidst the relationship autopsy, power outages and friend fall out, an unwelcome alien guest begins to systematically stalk and kill them. What follows is a pretty loud and scary adrenalin ride as Charlie has to shake off his loser tag, kill the vicious alien trying to wipe them all out, and win back the respect of his ex. The geek to hero formula nods playfully to Sean of the Dead and there is plenty of black humour amongst the gore. Ned Dennehy provides some welcome loony relief with his cameo as David, a man who lives in one of the storage containers in order to avoid his ex-wife! There are plenty of jump scares and tension as director Johannes Roberts (F, Roadkill) draws on some of the best elements of previous sci-fi horrors such as Aliens, and The Thing to ramp up threat levels. Especially with the film’s use of claustrophobia inducing air vent scenes. Granted the alien isn’t the most original thing to look at, but it certainly has personality! Clarke and Roberts go for alien puppetry/man in suit FX, which proves far more effective than CG. The pacing and scripting are as solid as you’d expect, even if you do feel that the budget and set location are pretty limiting. Storage 24 is a lot of fun; even if it won’t win awards for originality it still wins kudos for being a decent and rare example of a British made sci-fi movie. Clarke even stated that the alien in question was first intended to be a serial killer; although I’m glad he went with the sci-fi angle, especially considering the epic final scene!