HOLY HARRYHAUSEN! A monster movie featuring – wait for it – a monster!
The Storage 24 creature, a genus found somewhere between Predator and Isabelle Adjani’s eroticised chunk of meat from Possession, isn’t half bad. Cheers to the British actioner and its spiritual cousin Attack the Block for having the gumption to go “full monster”; jeers to last week’s Chernobyl Diaries for failing to produce a rubber suit or special effect of any kind. Monsters, like mattes, are one of the movieverse’s great marvels.
We’re not surprised that Noel Clarke, a clever chap with a flair for genre film-making, has had the wit to put them back in British cinema. (Dear Britain; Please divvy up whatever replaces the UK Film Council between Noel Clarke and Terence Davies. Ta.) The pitch is clever and low-budget friendly.
A mysterious military cargo plane has crashed somewhere near a vast 24-hour storage facility in London, just as uptight Charlie (Noel Clarke) and BF Mark (Colin O’Donoghue) arrive to collect Charlie’s belongings. Ex-girlfriend Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is still in the building with her BF Nikki (Laura Haddock). Awkward.
Can the warring group work together against the alien menace? Can they survive the shock of seeing a deliciously dishevelled Ned Dennehy pop up as a customer turned facility resident? The story is Clarke’s, as in the lead role. Sadly, the script is not.
The ladies, one suspects, would have been given more to do if the writer of 4,3,2,1 and Fast Girls had authored the screenplay or directed the action. As things stand, Storage 24 offers lovely hunks of gore and entrails but not enough gender equality or moment-to-moment tension.
Still, there are some neat touches and devices in play. The hero switcheroo between Clarke and O’Donoghue, as one gets braver and the other snivelling, is deftly handled. Scenes depicting charges through the building’s vents are tightly framed. And the punch line is a doozy. TARA BRADY