Don’t you just hate it when you’ve just been broken up with on the phone, you run into your ex sorting out all your stuff with her douchebag friends and then all of a sudden an alien is ripping off faces and chasing you through a storage facility? Me too.
So, Storage 24. First thought: this is one of those newfangled horror movies where they purposefully make all the characters unlikable from the outset so you don’t know who to root for. In the name of realism, of course. Where most of these films with an unlikable cast fall flat, though, is in not giving the characters room to redeem themselves. Storage 24 does a great job of making the most of its fairly small cast, letting them show their stuff, and especially in giving Charlie a heroic redemption arc. To be fair though, all Charlie really needed was a push out of a boring normal life and something to focus on other than his unsuspected breakup.
Let’s just say that with such a strong character arc for their main, they’re obviously not here to rack up the goriest kills; the heart of the story (har har) is of love gone bad. And speaking of love, what really makes this movie an oddity is the extent to which it plays with its love theme. We start off with Charlie and Shelley and another facet of that relationship that would be a bit of a spoiler to mention. Then, add David (played by a suitably bedraggled Ned Dennehy), who’s hiding the the storage facility to escape his harpy of an ex wife and watch about eight screens worth of news. Hell, what kinds of kills do we get to see from this monster? One involving a heart and one involving the prolonged kind of horror-kiss you’d only get from an alien. There’s nothing subtle about this at all.
However much subtlety the main theme lacks, there’s one other point the movie messes around with that I’m glad they played up, and that’s the claustrophobia inherent in being locked in. That “holy crap I want to get out of this place but can’t and I’m probably going to die because of it” feeling. Why aren’t more horror movies shot in storage facilities? Why aren’t all the horror movies shot in storage facilities? They do some amazing things with camera angles and tight shots here that really make you feel the closeness of the set: the endless halls, storage rooms and air vent ducts, all with an alien menace moving around them like a pendulum from Silent Hill. I was almost more uncomfortable when they were climbing around in the walls than when they were actually facing the alien- although then we actually got to see the alien and what a nifty design it was.
Inevitably, this is going to draw comparisons to Attack the Block. After all, they’re both alien invasion movies set over South London, and they both heavily invoke the redemption arc in their plot structure. And given how Attack the Block did in theaters across the pond, Storage 24 wouldn’t have a chance in cracking the wider foreign market. Moses was an unique character with the combination of some well pulled off writing and John Boyega’s incredible acting. Though Noel Clarke did give me a hell yeah moment at the end, he lacks the same kind of magnetic appeal in this role. There’s also a lot less humor here, and the plot structure isn’t quite as well done. However, do I think this is worth a watch? Actually, yes. You aren’t going to be finding anything particularly new in this, but then again I suspect we’ve done just about every iteration of alien invasion, and some of them fairly recent. But sometimes you just want to watch a horror movie with aliens and characters who end up using their wits more than their weaponry, and this hits the spot.
Also, in case you’ve ever wondered what cars the British Men in Black drive? It’s black Range Rovers. Mind is blown.
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