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Johannes Roberts directs this British sci-fi horror. When a military cargo plane crashes in central London, carnage and chaos ensue as its highly-classified contents are strewn across the city. Unaware of the prevailing state of emergency, recently separated young couple Charlie (Noel Clarke) and Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) have asked their friends, Mark (Colin O'Donoghue) and Nikki (Laura Haddock), to accompany them to the Storage 24 depot to divide up their possessions after their break-up. When the power suddenly goes off, the friends find themselves trapped inside the depot, and prey to an alien killer intent on hunting them down one by one.
For more about Storage 24 and the Storage 24 Blu-ray release, see Storage 24 Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on March 17, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Noel Clarke, Colin O'Donoghue, Jamie Thomas King, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Laura Haddock
Director: Johannes Roberts
» See full cast & crew
Storage 24 Blu-ray Review
Like opening an old box full of discarded alien movie tropes.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, March 17, 2013
Watching the low-budget British creature feature Storage 24—which takes place in one of those dreary, fluorescent-lit self-storage facilities—is a little like going through boxes of old junk. Most of it is forgettable garbage, but occasionally you come across a misplaced gem—a particularly gory kill, a wry line of dialogue—making the venture at least semi-worthwhile. Of course, this comes with the caveat that one person's treasure is another's trash, and vice versa. With an extraterrestrial monster on the loose in a single, inescapable location, the film belongs to what might ungenerously be called the "Alien ripoff" sub-genre. It also has the production values of a SyFy channel movie and the acting to match. For some, this might be all they need to know to stay far, far away and spend their entertainment dollars elsewhere. Others, however, might find that Storage 24's cheap effects and unoriginal story are good for a laugh and go down just fine with a few pints of lager.
Along with Alien, the film cribs bits and bobs from Super 8, District 9 and, sure—since we're talking about characters being picked off one by one—Ten Little Indians. After a military transport plane breaks up in mid-air, trailing debris, and crashes into Hyde Park, London and its environs are put on lockdown. A woman walking her dog discovers a steel cage with an open door coated in viscous slime, and immediately we know that some thing has been released in the city. And yes, whatever it is has decided to take refuge in the nearby Storage 24, with its labyrinthine hallways, traversable air ducts, and weirdly dingy basement—who knew self-storage lots had basements?—where it promptly mauls a repairman and terrorizes the receptionist.
Meanwhile, sharp-suited businessman Charlie (the film's writer, Noel Clarke), fraught over having recently been dumped, goes to Storage 24—with his leather jacket-wearing best mate, Mark (Colin O'Donoghue), for emotional support—looking to find his ex, Shelly (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), and either win her back or get some closure. Shelly is there retrieving her belongings with her pals Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King), and it's all-around awkward for everyone when the former lovebirds confront. But they'll all soon have more pressing concerns—namely, a panicked, desperate fight for survival. A power outage flips the security locks, trapping them inside with the interstellar beastie, a Predator-esque humanoid bug with a vagina dentata mouth and probe-like E.T. fingers. To make it out alive—and not all of them will, naturally— they'll need to scavenge for makeshift weapons, hunker down in a safe spot, and put aside their trivial interpersonal problems.
English director Johannes Roberts has previously made the SyFy channel's Roadkill and a handful of similarly low-budget horror pictures— F, Forest of the Damned, Hellbreeder—so he knows a thing or two about getting production value bang for his limited buck. (Panache for his pound?) The film definitely looks cheap, but it does benefit from having a dude in a rubber suit for its alien instead of some bargain effects house CGI monstrosity. There are some digital embellishments, and while these are often cringe-inducingly noticeable, the practical effects and the overall monster design—if completely and unapologetically derivative—are surprisingly decent for this caliber of movie. Roberts also utilizes the limited space well; Storage 24 is no Nostromo, but the director uses the everyday blandness of the location to set up at least two or three good suspense-preceded shocks. Oh, and I'll give the movie this too—it has some high-quality gore, if that's your bag, from a torn-off face to an eviscerated torso.
Where Storage 24 disappoints—even if you're a fan of cheapie genre ripoffs—is how seriously it takes itself. There are a few moments of gleeful derangement, like when the survivors attack the alien with a stuffed robotic puppy strapped with bottle rockets, or when a nut-job divorcee who lives in the complex shows up wielding an electric toothbrush and spouting gibberish, but the tone overall is too subdued, with more relationship-gone-bad melodrama than oh-crap-we're-all-gonna-die terror. Sure, the conflict between Charlie and Shelly is there to give us something personal to latch onto, storywise—and you've probably already guessed that there's a secret affair going on, which inevitably complicates matters when it's revealed—but we don't really care about any of these characters. Going into a film like this, we just want to be scared and shocked and have some fun. Storage 24 only delivers some of the b-movie goods. It might've been better had it let loose and went over-the-top gonzo instead of being so tethered to reality.
Storage 24 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Storage 24 has that unmistakable low-budget look of cheap-and-easy lighting, but when it comes to the technical presentation of this 1080p/AVC encode—as opposed to the purely aesthetic considerations—there are no real substantive complaints to raise. The film was shot digitally with Arri Alexa cameras, and though many scenes are quite dark, noise is rarely visible from a normal viewing distance. (You get a sense that the sets were actually fairly brightly lit, and that the dimness was predominantly the work of color grading.) There are none of the usual dreaded distractions either— no obvious edge enhancement, DNR, or compression issues. In terms of clarity, the picture is very sharp most of the time, especially in closeups, where skin and clothing textures are tightly defined. Color is as rich and dense as it needs to be, with consistent black levels, contrast—which could arguably stand to be a little punchier—and skin tones. The film looks like a SyFy original, but the high definition transfer here is almost certainly true to source and intent.
Storage 24 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Storage 24 may be a low-budget production, but the movie's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track hosts some surprisingly well-done sound design. The creature noises are great in particular—sometimes throaty, sometimes screechy, always disconcerting. And the thing moves with a creepy-crawly skitteriness. Then there's the background ambience. Rain drips and fire crackles, sirens blare and the the few explosions ka-chow with significant force. Everything has a strong sense of clarity and good dynamic heft. The rear channels aren't alway in use, but they do supplement the front bank of speakers when necessary, especially during the more action-heavy sequences. The mix is further filled out by a score that alternately drones and pounds; it's a bit generic-sounding for this kind of movie, but it works. Most importantly, dialogue is always cleanly recorded and easy to understand. The disc includes optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Storage 24 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Storage 24 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
One person's worthless sci-fi knockoff is another's low-budget source of beer-and-a-movie-night hilarity, so consider your expectations before committing to Storage 24. The film sits in that weird critical netherworld—it's not great, it's not terrible, and it's not so-bad-it's-good either. It just is. I will give it this—at least it's not another found-footage horror movie. I think we've all had enough of those. Magnet's Blu-ray release is solid, and comes with more supplementary material than you'll probably want to watch, but if you're curious about seeing the film, I'd recommend holding off on a purchase and waiting to first check it out on Netflix or the like.
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Storage 24 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Storage 24 Blu-ray - December 22, 2012
Magnolia Pictures has revealed that it is planning to release on Blu-ray director Johannes Roberts' Storage 24 (2012), starring Noel Clarke, Colin O'Donoghue, Laura Haddock, and Antonia Campbell-Hughes. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores ...
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