Judge Patrick Bromley wonders where Dave, Darrell, Barry, Jerrod, and Brandi are.
Will their first contact be their last?
The new sci-fi horror movie Storage 24 feels like the logical result of the well running dry. We've had monsters in houses and we've had monsters in caves. We've had monsters on spaceships and monsters in museums. What we haven't had before now is a monster in a public storage facility. This appears to be the only jumping off point for Storage 24. It is not enough to carry a movie.
Noel Clarke (Doctor Who's Mickey, who also co-wrote the screenplay) stars as Charlie, one of a group of friends who are trapped in a storage facility when a military plane crashes in London and loses its classified cargo. Can you guess what the cargo is? Spoilers: it's a monster. Making matters worse is that one of the people with whom Charlie is trapped is his ex-girlfriend Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes, The Other Side of Sleep), and that she's been keep secrets about at least one of the other friends in the group. That means in addition to battling a murderous monster, there's going to be lots of petty relationship squabbling and self-indulgent moping. Scary!
Storage 24 is about as unremarkable as horror movies come. Though clearly shot for little money, the scope is small enough that director Johannes Roberts (whose previous films include Hellbreeder, Darkhunters and Forest of the Damned) manages a grasp that matches his reach. But as a result of that small scope, this is a monster movie without much monster in it; it's much more about four friends working out their issues (or, more accurately, three friends and one extraneous blonde woman who is very pretty but who is in the movie for no apparent reason, as she has no character to play and serves the story in no way). Had these characters been sympathetic or likable, the movie might work; I'm on board for a small ensemble character piece that suddenly turns into a horror movie. That's not what this is.
While it's never actually funny, the film at least seems to have a sense of humor about itself. Sometimes it tries too hard for humor, possibly in the hopes that it will someday engender a cult following, but trying to play this material completely straight would more than likely been disastrous. Still, the humor doesn't work—it just gives the movie some self-awareness. The best thing that Storage 24 has going for it is a decent but uninspired monster (it's mostly a guy in a suit) and some brief but crazy gore, even though it's CG-enhanced. However, recommending the whole movie on the basis of one or two kills would be like suggesting you watch a porn because there is 11 seconds of sex in it. We should expect more from our horror movies.
The Blu-ray of Storage 24 from Magnolia is on par with the rest of the genre efforts they have put out in recent years: the 1080p transfer is sharp and handles the film's general darkness well, rarely succumbing to crush and still managing to boast some good fine detail. Once again, it's obvious that the movie was shot on digital, giving everything a TV-esque sheen that makes me long for film, but it's a good looking film despite its low-budget roots. The lossless DTS-HD audio track boasts some clever sound design, putting the surround channels to good us from time to time and delivering the dialogue clearly.
Writer/star Noel Clarke and director Roberts sit down for a commentary that's agreeable enough, covering basic aspects of the production and joking around a little. It's fine, but in an age when every single movie now comes with a commentary track, there's not enough time in the day to waste on just another average commentary. A collection of deleted scenes adds very little, while a collection of video blogs offer some behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it was like on the set. The best feature is a group of featurettes that gives a good sense of making the movie, from the creature design to the execution; at times, the documentary is a more enjoyable watch than the movie itself. Also included a gallery of production photos and a collection of trailers for the movie.
Supposedly, Storage 24 is now the second lowest-grossing movie of all time, having racked up $72 on one screen (I believe in my hometown of Chicago). That's a funny badge of honor, but shouldn't be taken as a reflection of the movie's quality. I didn't really like Storage 24, but it's as good or better as movies that have made millions. Besides, the low budget and claustrophobic setting of the film make it better suited for home viewing, where it will eventually find its audience. It's utterly generic, but a guy does get his jaw ripped off. That was pretty cool.
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