Storage 24 (2012)
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Noel Clarke, Davie Fairbanks, and Marc Small
Starring: Noel Clarke, Colin O’Donoghue, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, and Laura Haddock.

The Plot: Charlie (Noel Clarke) is a poor sap having to deal with one of life’s most difficult hardships: being dumped. After Charlie’s lady leaves him, it seems as if the relationship is all that he is capable of talking about, much to the chagrin of his pal Mark who is completely sick of hearing about it. While Charlie is in the midst of his personal crisis, it seems as if London is in the midst of its own crisis. Apparently there has been a “plane crash” in the center of London, but we will soon find out that this crash is much more surreal than what the news agencies are capable of reporting. Charlie, still being extremely upset, decides to visit his now-ex girlfriend to find out what has went wrong within their relationship. Charlie and Mark track her down to a storage building where she is currently splitting up her material possessions, and of course a bitter argument ensues. It turns out that this bitter dispute will not be the worst thing to happen to Charlie this week. It seems that this plane crash in the center of London has dropped its cargo all over the city. Amongst this cargo, we find a massive alien creature who is looking to find his way off of our planet – and it’s willing to shred anything that stands in it’s way.

The Review
Recent history has personally proven to me the cyclical nature of horror cinema. We have seen numerous hot spots pop up throughout the years, whether it is Asia, France, Germany, or even Hollywood, ideas spread like a virus and select subgenres become hot commodities for brief periods. Although the progress has been slow, in comparison to the Asian cinema boom of the early 2000s, the UK has really put a mark on the horror genre within the past ten years. Within the past ten or so years, we have seen titles like 28 Day Later, Shaun of the Dead, The Descent, and recently even Attack the Block, all of which are British films that have managed to make a rather large impact upon the genre. While the British boom hasn’t been as quick in succession as some other markets, it does point to a market that might thrive for a longer period of time due to a lack of creative burnout. While I am not going to say that Storage 24 will have the impact that the previous films mentioned have had, I must commend it for being another solid genre effort from the UK. While that may be a “spoiler” for this review, that I did enjoy myself while watching, I must say that this is one of the more conflicted horror efforts that I have seen coming from this area within recent years. A genre title that is in love with its tropes, when it is on top it is focusing less on death scenes and more on character building.

Straight from the jump, the movie does not look like a cheap low budget horror title. Packed with lots of interesting visual texture, the movie does well in mixing its urban landscape with a surprisingly vibrant use of color. Aside from a bit of less-than-stellar CGI used for select shots that paint the landscape of London, the movie looks utterly spectacular. They seem to be a necessary evil in order to give the movie some scale and thankfully they do not detract from the overall product. Yet, the look of the movie isn’t entirely what draws me to the project. Although this is a title that gives in to nearly every conceivable cliche that audiences might expect of it, the script appears to have a general love for these characters. The film takes a stripped down approach to the casting. Unlike many slasher films, Storage 24 doesn’t throw a litany of annoying teens onscreen who serve only as cannon fodder for a ruthless murderer. While that might arguably work well for the Friday the 13th series, and that is something that is open for debate when it comes to the later sequels, but it doesn’t work nearly as well in the modern era when audiences have become so desensitized to genre archetypes. Storage 24 does borrow many of these archetypes, but when it comes to our main cast, most of the characters are well developed and seem to have genuine drama working in their favor.

Storage 24 starts off interestingly enough. Mileage is sure to vary, but due to the intriguing performances of the cast, the love triangle that develops between our main characters is actually quite engaging. The melodrama develops at a decent pace and the twists and turns of it are also played quite well against all of the genre conventions that seem to pop up. While we get to know these characters and see how their stories develop, there’s also a horror movie that brews and peaks at all of the right moments. This “background horror movie” that develops, which soon overtakes the main plot, is undoubtedly marred by stale genre conventions. Characters split up and search in opposite directions, characters leave behind allies due to vendettas (putting them in danger of being killed by our monstrosity), and just about every possible trope that this genre could have to offer is brought up. While the twists and turns of the love triangle aren’t always easy to see coming, unfortunately, the “spooky” bits are.

Storage 24 does ultimately have a positive for nearly every negative that it racks up. Despite the fact that it starts off moving in a strong slasher-movie direction, as mentioned before, this is not a body count movie. It is nowhere near defined by the number of deaths that pile up over its runtime. It’s actually refreshing to find that the film moves away from that area and instead focuses on the human drama. Now, granted, many audiences are going to find that the movie goes a bit too far in this direction, but I think most can agree that this is slightly more unique than your average “count the number of bodies that stack up” take on the genre. For all of the genre cliches and dramatic tension, ultimately the burden of the entire project rests upon the shoulders of the cast that is assembled. This is where the film earns most of its stripes. Featuring some very convincing and strong performances, particularly by writer and lead Noel Clarke, the characters come across as far more fleshed out than one ever expects from a alien-killing-people-in-a-storage-locker movie.

The Conclusion
There are numerous ups and downs in Storage 24, but overall there is a great deal of entertainment to be found here. While it’s far from adventurous, the movie hits all of the expected notes with excitement. If I were to give half stars though, this would be a three-and-a-half, but as it is, I’m leaning towards a four. The good often overshadows the bad and this is something that is fun to throw on when friends are over and looking for a decent horror flick to clown through. Available through Magnet Releasing, the DVD isn’t hard to find, so give it a look if it comes to a Redbox near you.